The early days of the Beatles has been told on-screen before, in the 1994 film Backbeat, but never with Brian Epstein as a central character. Now Hollywood is planning to film a script about the Liverpudlian manager and entrepreneur who brought the Fab Four to the public's attention and secured them a contract with EMI, according to Variety.
Tony Gittelson's screenplay A Life in the Day centres on the man who discovered the Beatles in 1961 and was their guiding light until 1967, when he died of a drug overdose at the age of 32. The film is expected to focus on the formation of the band.
Backbeat, which starred Ian Hart as John Lennon and Stephen Dorff as early Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, was about the band's early days performing in Hamburg and learning their trade. Epstein was not a major character, but did appear in 1991's The Hours and Times, also starring Hart as Lennon, a fictional retelling of the events of a holiday the pair took together in 1963. David Angus played the role.
Epstein, who started out in the music business by selling records from his father's appliance store in Liverpool, heard the Beatles on his lunch break at the Cavern Club. After becoming their manager, he relentlessly pursued a record deal for the quartet. "Everybody turned down the band, even though Brian promised they would become bigger than Elvis. He finally got George Martin at EMI to change his mind and give them an audition," said David Permut, producer of the planned film.
Epstein said of his experience watching the Beatles for the first time: "I was immediately struck by their music, their beat, and their sense of humour on stage – and, even afterwards, when I met them, I was struck again by their personal charm. And it was there that, really, it all started."
The deal to film Gittelson's screenplay comes at a time when the band's popularity is once again on the rise. Digitally-remastered versions of all of the Beatles studio albums are to be released on 9 September after a 21-year wait, and a special Beatles version of the game Rock Band is on its way. Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis is also planning a new 3D version of Yellow Submarine, using motion-capture technology.
Permut, who is also producing forthcoming biopics of John DeLorean and Sam Kinison, is planning to pursue rights to certain - presumably early - Beatles songs. Backbeat, alternatively, featured a variety of grunge musicians of the period performing covers of other people's tracks which the band would have performed in Hamburg.http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/aug/26/beatles-brian-epstein-biopic
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