Rupert Friend Tapped to Lead ‘The Yellow Tie’ Alongside John Malkovich, Based on Life of Famed Romanian Conductor Sergiu Celibidache (EXCLUSIVE)

Rupert Friend
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“Anatomy of a Scandal” star Rupert Friend has signed on to star as famed Romanian conductor Sergiu Celibidache in “The Yellow Tie,” an upcoming biopic of Celibidache’s life, Variety can exclusively reveal.

Friend will have a central role in the feature, playing the young Celibidache. As Variety revealed last year, John Malkovich is also signed on to play an older version of the conductor.

The duo last appeared on screen together in 2004’s “The Libertine,” in which Johnny Depp also starred as the Duke of Rochester. Friend has also appeared in features including “Hitman: Agent 47” and “The Death of Stalin.” He will next be appearing in “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” alongside Benedict Cumberbatch.

Serge Ioan Celebidachi, the conductor’s son, will direct “The Yellow Tie” based on a screenplay he co-wrote with James Olivier.

Robert W. Cort (“Cocktail,” “Jumanji,” “Terminator Genisys”) has also boarded the biopic as an executive producer.

Producers are Adela Vrinceanu Celebidachi, Cristina Dobritoiu, (Oblique Media Film, Romania), Andrei Boncea, Christopher Milburn (Frame Film, Romania) and James Olivier (Celi Films, UK).

Celibidache is one of Romania’s best known artists, whose incredible life was unknown to many of those who worshipped his music. After telling his father he planned to pursue a career in music, Celibidache was kicked out of home and experienced homelessness. Travelling to Berlin to pursue his dream he encountered discrimination and prejudice but after surviving World War II he beat the odds to win a competition that saw him become the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s youngest ever conductor.

Celibidache went on to become one of the twentieth century’s most iconic conductors. Throughout his career he also staunchly opposed Romania’s authoritarian regime. His unorthodox approach to music as well as his politics made him a contentious figure in his home country and throughout the classical music world.

“I am thrilled to be working with John once again; one of our greatest actors,” said Friend. “It’s an honor to be sharing with him the responsibility of portraying a man as fascinating, complex, and talented as Sergiu Celibidache – I’m excited to be bringing his story to the screen.”

“The Yellow Tie” is set to start production in Romania in early 2023.

Georgia Topley and Des Hamilton are casting the pic.