Paramount lands Kenneth Branagh to helm Bee Gees biopic
Nearly a year and a half since last hearing word that Bohemian Rhapsody scribe had been set to pen the script for the project, Paramount Pictures’ untitled Bee Gees biopic has gained new ground as five-time Oscar nominee Kenneth Branagh (Death on the Nile) has signed on to direct, according to Variety.
In addition to attaching Branagh, who’s currently awaiting the releases of both his Agatha Christie sequel and Judi Dench-led drama Belfast, Paramount also shifted gears in the screenwriting position as Ben Elton has been tapped to pen the current draft of the script. The film will mark a reunion between the writer and director after Elton starred in Branagh’s written/directed/starring adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and penned the script for the Shakespeare historical fiction film All Is True, in which Branagh directed and starred as the iconic playwright.
Formed by brothers Maurice, Barry and Robin Gibb in 1958, the group began to rise to popularity in the late ’60s to early ’70s with the rise of the disco era, including writing and performing new singles for the film, namely the acclaimed dance hit “Stayin’ Alive,” as well as “How Deep is Your Love,” “Night Fever,” “More Than a Woman,” “Jive Talkin'” and “You Should Be Dancing.” They have sold over 220 million records worldwide and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
After the death of Maurice in 2003, the group chose to retire the name of the Bee Gees for six years before Barry and Robin agreed to re-form and perform together in 2009, which kept their legacy alive for a few more years until Robin’s passing in 2012 due to liver and kidney failure, with Barry now performing solo in albums and concerts.
The studio purchased the life rights to the Gibbs family estate with the help of Graham King (Bohemian Rhapsody), ensuring the group’s music will be featured in the film, with Elisabeth Murdoch, Stacey Snider and Jane Featherstone all attached as either a producer or co-financier through new banner Sister. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment is also attached to produce the film while Barry is attached as executive producer and is working closely as a creative consultant on the story of the film.
The project marks a return to the music biopic world for both Paramount and King, with the studio finding critical acclaim and modest financial success from its Elton John biopic Rocketman and the producer coming off of the smash Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which grossed almost $1 billion worldwide and was nominated for five Oscars, winning four including Best Actor for Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) as the iconic Freddie Mercury.
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