A Billy Joel biopic is now in the works. Variety reports that a biopic called Piano Man is happening at Michael Jai White’s Jaigantic Studios with Adam Ripp (Devil’s Whisper) on board to write and direct. The film is said to chronicle Joel’s early years, from when he was discovered as a teenage musician to playing in a Long Island cover band in the 1960s before culminating with his breakout performance in 1972.
Joel himself, however, is not involved with the project. The musician’s rep says that he will not be granting the filmmakers the rights to use his music, name / likeness, or life story. Jaigantic instead acquired the life rights to Irwin Mazur, Joel’s first manager who worked with the singer from 1965 to 1972. That’s why the film ends a year before the release of Joel’s hit album and song “Piano Man” in 1973. Music needs for the film are “yet to be determined,” producers say.
Piano Man is executive produced by Jaigantic Studios. Producing the film are White, Mayne Berke, Donovan de Boer, and Mazur. Ripp, whose father Artie Ripp signed Joel to his first record deal as a solo artist, is also producing. There’s no word yet on who might be playing Billy Joel in the biopic.
“Billy Joel has been a part of my life since my father signed him to his record label when I was 4 years old; his music is ingrained in my DNA and it’s been a dream of mine as a filmmaker to explore and celebrate the untold story of how Billy Joel became the Piano Man, “Ripp said in a statement.
“What a dream come true!” Added Mazur. “These are the real-life events I witnessed first-hand that shaped Billy from a keyboard player in the local Long Island band, The Hassles, into the iconic musician, singer-songwriter, and entertainer who thrills audiences around the world, today. ”
As a lifelong fan of Billy Joel, I am elated to be part of the team to produce his biopic. Billy Joel is the key figure on the Mount Rushmore of American Music, “noted White.
Billy Joel’s Biopic Joins the List of Many Musician-Based Films in the Works
It’s no surprise these days to see new announcements for musician biopics. These kinds of movies have found great success in recent years prompting filmmakers to see which other stories of famous musicians they can next bring to the big screen. Some of the many biopics that are currently in development include movies about Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Amy Winehouse, The Bee Gees, Cher, Whitney Houston, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Spector, Boy George, and Michael Jackson.
Madonna is also personally working on a biopic that has been said to be putting its hopefuls for the part through a “Madonna boot camp.” This includes spending hours learning Madonna’s dance choreography along with performing her songs in front of the singer herself. Florence Pugh and Julia Garner are among the finalists for the part.
Piano Man does not yet have an official release date.
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