Martin Scorsese and Irwin Winkler are teaming up with John Carney, director of Begin Again and showrunner of Modern Love, for a musical titled Fascinating Rhythm that will be inspired by the life and music of legendary American composer George Gershwin.
Scorsese and Winkler will produce, while Carney will direct from a script co-written with Chris Cluess.
The film is named after one of Gershwin’s most famous songs, and the trio have developed the musical together. It’s being described as “a young woman’s magical journey through past and present New York City, inspired by the life and music of American composer George Gershwin“. The Gershwin estate is on board and the film will feature the iconic composer’s music throughout.
Gershwin’s music spanned both popular and classical genres. Among his best-known works are “Rhapsody In Blue” and “An American In Paris”, and opera Porgy And Bess. After moving to Hollywood, he composed a host of film scores before tragically dying of a brain tumor in 1937 at age 38 soon after receiving his sole Oscar nomination for the song “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”.
Scorsese has long wanted to make a movie about Gershwin. After making Raging Bull in 1980 – one of the many projects he has teamed with Winkler on – Scorsese was set to team with Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader on a Gershwin biopic until the pair fell out over another project.
It was then revived over a decade later, with John Guare brought on instead, and it was close to production in 1993 with Richard Dreyfus and Robert De Niro eyed to star. Unfortunately the film never got the greenlight from Warner Bros. Steven Spielberg was also close to making a biopic of Gershwin in 2010 with Zachary Quinto onboard to star.
So it’s not Scorsese or Spielberg at the helm, but Carney. He’s a good fit, as he has a strong musical background thanks to films such as the acclaimed romance Once and the Golden Globe-nominated Sing Street. If Carney can bring the same palpable love of music those films had to Fascinating Rhythm, Gershwin’s legacy will have been done justice.
With Scorsese and Winkler behind the project, it looks like after three previous attempts and over four decades, the Gershwin film will finally get made. Knock on wood. We’ll wait for casting info to arrive down the line.