Cary Fukunaga To Direct Jake Gyllenhaal In Leonard Bernstein Biopic | Film News
Jake Gyllenhaal is teaming with True Detective season one director Cary Fukunaga for a film based on the life of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein. Gyllenhaal has signed on to play the lead role, with Fukunaga directing and both men producing as well. The film will be titled The American.
Michael Mitnick (Vinyl) has written the screenplay based on the biography Leonard Bernstein by Humphrey Burton. The official plot synopsis is as follows:
“In five movements, like a symphony, The American follows Leonard Bernstein from conducting the New York Philharmonic at the impressive age of 25 through the meteoric rise to fame, all while struggling both personally and publicly to be everything that everyone expected him to be, most of all himself”.
Gyllenhaal himself went on to add: “Like many people, Leonard Bernstein found his way into my life and heart through West Side Story when I was a kid. But as I got older and started to learn about the scope of his work, I began to understand the extent of his unparalleled contribution and the debt of gratitude modern American culture owes him.
As a man, Bernstein was a fascinating figure—full of genius and contradiction — and it will be an incredible honour to tell his story with a talent and friend like Cary”.
Any film starring Gyllenhaal has become worth checking out since the actor developed into one of the modern greats. Having him portray a legendary composer with a talented director helming the film only makes this even more tantalising.
Interestingly, this isn’t the only Bernstein biopic in the works. Steven Spielberg recently held a table read for a potential Bernstein film, and there’s also a Josh Singer script over at Paramount that had Martin Scorsese interested a couple of years ago.
It’s no surprise that some of the great filmmakers are looking to get involved in a Bernstein biopic, as his legendary work likely shaped many filmmakers and actors from a young age, as Gyllenhaal alluded to above.
Despite those other potential rival projects, it looks as if The American will get there first. Principal photography is expected to get underway in the autumn.