A Billy Joel biopic titled “Piano Man” is in the works at Michael Jai White’s Jaigantic Studios, with Adam Ripp attached to write and direct.
The biopic will follow Joel’s early years — from being discovered by Irwin Mazur, who managed the band The Hassles that Joel joined as a teenager, to his breakout performance in 1972 that captured the attention of Clive Davis.
However, Billy Joel’s rep says that Joel is not involved with this film project, and that no rights in music, name/likeness or life story will be granted.
Instead, Jaigantic has acquired the life rights to Mazur, who was Joel’s music rep from 1970 to 1972, the year before his commercial breakthrough. Mazur’s father owned the Long Island club where Joel got his start with The Hassles in 1966.
Joel’s hit album and song “Piano Man” were released in 1973.
Music needs for the film are “yet to be determined,” according to the producers.
“Piano Man” will be executive produced by Jaigantic Studios with producers White, Mayne Berke and Donovan de Boer, along with Mazur and Ripp, whose father Artie Ripp signed Joel to his first record deal as a solo artist and produced his debut album, “Cold Spring Harbor.” Adam Ripp’s previous credits include producing 2012’s “Gambit” and directing “Devil’s Whisper” in 2019.
Ripp said in a statement, “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.”
Mazur added: “What a dream come true! 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.”
Said White, “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.”
(Pictured above from left to right: Billy Joel, manager Irwin Mazur, drummer Rhys Clark, producer Artie Ripp.)
Note: This article has been amended to clarify Mazur’s role.