Leonardo DiCaprio to play Frank Sinatra in biopic helmed by Scorsese

Acclaimed filmmaker recently made waves with his 2023 epic Western drama ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

Entertainment Desk April 18, 2024

Martin Scorsese is reportedly gearing up to delve into the life of the iconic singer, Frank Sinatra. In collaboration with his frequent leading man, Leonardo DiCaprio, who is in talks to portray the illustrious singer, Scorsese's project is generating significant buzz.

This is not the first time Scorsese has been linked to a Sinatra biopic. His renewed interest in the project, as reported by Variety, sees him planning to cast DiCaprio, a regular in Scorsese's films, having starred in Killers of the Flower Moon, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Aviator. Joining DiCaprio potentially is Jennifer Lawrence, set to play Sinatra’s second wife, Ava Gardner. The pair previously worked together in the critically acclaimed film Don’t Look Up.

Despite the excitement, the film’s development hinges on approval from Sinatra’s daughter, Tina Sinatra, who controls her father’s estate. She has yet to greenlight the biographical depiction of her father's storied life.

In addition to the Sinatra biopic, Scorsese is ambitiously casting for another major project, A Life of Jesus, based on the book by Shūsaku Endō. The film, expected to star Andrew Garfield, is poised to begin production later this year with locations in Israel, Italy and Egypt. 

Unlike his previous ventures into religious cinema with the 1988 release, The Last Temptation of Christ, Scorsese envisions this film to be predominantly set in the present day, aiming for a timeless quality rather than being confined to a specific era. Running at approximately 80 minutes, the upcoming film will be a major departure from the nearly three-and-a-half-hour runtime of Flower Moon. 

As per The LA Times, Scorsese will delve into Jesus' fundamental teachings without engaging in “proselytisation.” While little is known about the plot and casting yet, fans can expect the project to pick up pace, owing to the auteur’s unassailable spirit. Collaborating with critic and filmmaker Kent Jones, Scorsese has completed the screenplay and plans to begin shooting the film later this year.

As the filmmaker jumps from Killers of the Flower Moon to this new passion project, the fate of another film in the pipeline hangs in the balance. Based on David Grann's nonfiction book, The Wager was announced by Apple Original Films in July 2022, featuring DiCaprio as lead. However, production has yet to kick off.

The decision to put a hold on The Wager was made public in October, stemming from Scorsese’s commitment to addressing the post-writer's strike landscape and ensuring the success of his latest cinematic offering. In conversation with IndieWire, the director announced a brief pause.

Additionally, the acclaimed filmmaker is expanding his directorial prowess to television, helming a biblical series for Fox Nation. He is also collaborating with Steven Spielberg on a Cape Fear series adaptation for Apple TV+. Spielberg, meanwhile, continues his exploration of sci-fi themes with an upcoming UFO feature based on an original story he penned.

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