You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Helmers ganging up on Hughes

Scorsese, Nolan taking on dueling biopics

Martin Scorsese intends to get a jump on the Howard Hughes biopic race and is poised to direct his “Gangs of New York” star Leonardo DiCaprio in the project.

Production on the pic, which is on the hunt for financing, would start in the fall. “Gladiator” co-scribe John Logan has written the script, while Michael Mann and partner Sandy Climan will produce in their first significant project from their reconsituted Forward Pass shingle.

“Gangs,” meanwhile, still is awaiting a release.

The Scorsese-helmed Hughes pic faces direct competition from “Memento” director Christopher Nolan’s Hughes project, to star Jim Carrey, that recently took root at Castle Rock. Company bought rights to the Richard Hack book “Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters,” published by New Millennium.

While Nolan is ringing up the accolades for “Memento,” he’s just starting on the Hughes adaptation; Logan, meanwhile, has completed a script strong enough to hook Scorsese.

While many expected the Scorsese-DiCaprio tandem to figure prominently in a biopic of Alexander the Great, Scorsese apparently sparked to both the Hughes script and the chance to again direct DiCaprio. Mann and DiCaprio hatched the project together and have worked on shaping it for several years; they originally set it up at New Line with production prexy Michael De Luca. The film was put in turnaround after De Luca departed and is now controlled by Mann’s Forward Pass and DiCaprio.

Early mogul years

They are expected to move quickly to secure financing and a start date for a film focusing on the formative Hughes years, when he was a dashing aviator and movie mogul. It ends in the early 1950s, long before Hughes became a reclusive germophobe. It may be best showcase of a shined-up DiCaprio since “Titanic.”

While Scorsese now is poised to direct back-to-back DiCaprio vehicles, Mann, too, has long tried to direct the star. The first attempt was a James Dean biopic that Mann put aside when he teamed Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in “Heat.” The director and star are teamed on “The Inside Man,” another fact-based story that Mann and producer Harry Ufland set up at Disney several years ago, with a script by Mann. By all accounts, Mann intended to direct DiCaprio in the Hughes film, but likely wanted a breather from the bio genre after tackling “The Insider” and “Ali” back to back.

Mann apparently agreed to step aside as director because the Carrey-Nolan project looked ready to go, and he didn’t want to hold up the DiCaprio pic; when their first choice, Scorsese, said yes, his decision was made easier.

Scorsese’s commitment makes the Hughes pic the first major project from their company since Mann joined forces with Climan, his former agent at CAA.

The dealmaking about to commence may hold its own intrigue, given that CAA reps Mann and Logan, while AMG reps both Scorsese and DiCaprio.

More Film

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Robert Iger's Pay 'Naked Indecency' in Op-Ed

    After stirring a flurry of reactions over her Tweets calling out wage inequality at the Walt Disney Co. on Sunday, Abigail Disney, a filmmaker and philanthropist who is the grand niece of Walt Disney, penned an opinion column outlining her arguments against Disney’s pay practices. In her op-ed, which was published in the Washington Post [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame' Reaps $90 Million in China by Late Afternoon of Opening Day

    “Avengers: Endgame” is already breaking records in China, raking in $89.6 million (RMB602 million) as of 5 p.m. on opening day Wednesday – two days ahead of the U.S. – and putting itself firmly on track to become the biggest Hollywood title ever in the Middle Kingdom. The Marvel finale has already set a new [...]

  • ‘The Gift: The Journey of Johnny

    Film Review: ‘The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash’

    Very much in the manner of an “unplugged” acoustic album that showcases the musicianship of a major artist without distracting flash and filigree, “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” is a tightly focused yet impressively multifaceted documentary that attempts nothing less than to delve past familiar myths and illuminate the soul of its fabled [...]

  • Emily Morgan Cormac Fox Gregoire Debailly

    European Film Promotion Reveals 2019's Producers on the Move

    Twenty of Europe’s up-and-coming producers are going to Cannes with European Film Promotion. The organization unveiled its latest roster of Producers on the Move on Wednesday, a lineup that features France’s Gregoire Debailly, who produced Jean-Bernard Marlin’s “Sheherazade,” which premiered in Critics’ Week in Cannes last year, and Ireland’s Cormac Fox, who produced Sophie Hyde’s [...]

  • Avengers EndGame Trailer

    ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Marvel claims the top spot in spending with “Avengers: Endgame.” Ads placed for the superhero film had an estimated media value of $6.28 million through Sunday for 927 national ad airings on 39 networks. (Spend figures [...]

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    Netflix Can Chill: Academy Rules No Change in Streaming Oscar Eligibility

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will not change eligibility rules for the Oscars, despite speculation that streaming companies might see a crackdown on their release practices when pursuing golden trophies. A board of governors meeting on Tuesday voted to maintain the status quo, that any feature-length film can be considered for the [...]

  • Aniara review

    Film Review: 'Aniara'

    Each year brings an example or three of purported “thinking person’s science-fiction” films, a category that pretty much embraces anything not centered on monsters or lightsaber battles. These efforts are often more admirable in theory than result, but “Aniara” — the first film drawn from Nobel Prize-winning Swedish poet Harry Martinson’s 1956 cycle of 103 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content