Scorsese! Pacino! De Niro! Sinatra!

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Scorsese! Pacino! De Niro! Sinatra!

by Owen Williams |
Published on

Okay, so it's actually more of a wishlist than any sort of casting announcement, but speaking to Indian newspaper The Hindu at the tail end of last week (helpfully spotted by the Guardian), Martin Scorsese has named his first choice for the lead in his long-gestating Frank Sinatra biopic. "I'm yet to spot the actor who can bring Frank to life on screen, but my choice is Al Pacino, with Robert De Niro as Dean Martin" says Marty.

It's almost exactly a year since reports started coming in that Scorsese was officially attached to direct the project, with Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams) penning the screenplay. It's been a tough nut to crack, with Scorsese describing the film as needing to deal with not only with Sinatra as a man who "changed the entire image of the Italian-American", but also with "his political work, civil rights, the Mob..." And then there's the small matter of the music.

The director has referred to Sinatra as an "unconventional biopic", and told Shortlist in March that he saw it as resembling a couple of past Scorsese glories. "In structure I’d like it to be more like GoodFellas," says Marty, "but like The Aviator, it only deals with certain times in his life. We can’t just go through the greatest hits of Sinatra’s life. So the other way to go is to have three or four different Sinatras. Younger. Older. Middle-aged. Very old. You cut back and forth in time, and you do it through the music."

Four different Sinatras? Sounds a little like Todd Haynes' I'm Not There, where Marcus Carl Franklin, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Ben Wishaw all played different "aspects" of Bob Dylan. This way though, gives us the tantalising prospect of both Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio (widely expected to take on the role since the film's inception, since he and Scorsese are now officially joined at the hip) in the lead. And that still leaves two Franks un-cast.

All wild speculation at the moment of course, and a lot will depend on the securing of the music rights. That in turn depends on the approval of executive producer Tina Sinatra (Frank's daughter) who may balk at any treatment that gives overdue weight to any Goodfellas-type shenanigans. She apparently favours a "softer" approach, and top of her own wishlist is George Clooney. So maybe that only leaves one Frank to cast after all. We're requesting Tom Waits for the old version. Frank's Wild Years, indeed...

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