John Malkovich (“The New Pope”) is set to play legendary classical conductor Sergiu Celibidache in a new film titled “The Yellow Tie”, Variety can exclusively reveal.
Based on a screenplay by the conductor’s son, Serge Ioan Celebidachi and James Olivier (“Octav”), the biopic will explore Celibidache’s life as one of the world’s most controversial conductors, alternatively considered a genius and a madman by the conventional classical music world. Celebidachi (“Octav”) will also direct.
Romanian-born Celibidache was thrown out of the family home as a teenager after revealing he planned to pursue a career in classical music. After periods of homelessness, he eventually won a competition to become the youngest ever conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and went on to become one of the most celebrated conductors of the twentieth century. He was famous for refusing to release recordings of his music, which he claimed would not have the same effect outside of a concert hall.
The feature is set to shoot in Romania in spring/summer 2022, with Malkovich playing Celibidache in the composer’s twilight years. Casting is still ongoing for a younger version of the musician. Des Hamilton (“JoJo Rabbit”) oversees casting.
“I am thrilled and honored to be given the opportunity to play the conductor Sergiu Celibidache,” said Malkovich. “A unique and singular talent, he is considered to be one of the great classical music visionaries of the last century. Playing him in his later years will be a challenging and fascinating journey.”
“The Yellow Tie” is an international co-production between Romania’s Oblique Media Film and Celi Films in the U.K.
Adela Vrinceanu Celebidachi, Cristina Dobritoiu, Titi Radoaie and James Olivier will produce.