Music biopics are booming these days. No matter your personal opinions on it, the overwhelming success of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody opened the floodgates for a slew of other biopics to be commissioned.
That film won four Oscars and made almost one billion dollars, meaning a lot of people were subjected to Rami Malek’s hideous prosthetic teeth.
Basically, even when they’re bad, biopics still find a way to be good. Fans love seeing the lives of their favourite artists explored on the big screen while also getting to hear their best songs at the same time; it’s a win-win situation.
2022 and beyond is set to be another bumper few years for biopics, so we thought we’d rank the upcoming projects from most promising to least promising (although all have their merits!).
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Elvis (June 24th 2022)
Look, a biopic about the King of Rock and Roll might end up being terrible but one thing’s for sure: they got the casting for the lead role uncannily spot on. Austin Butler looks the part in the trailer, possessing the same piercing blue eyes and effortless swagger as Elvis.
And the film is being helmed by Baz Luhrmann, who knows his way around a musical-themed piece or two (see Moulin Rouge! and The Get Down). It’s his first film since 2013’s The Great Gatsby, so he’ll be returning with a point to prove. And did I forget to mention that world treasure Tom Hanks is in the biopic as well?
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (December 21st 2022)
I’d rather take a Whitney Houston biopic over a remake of The Bodyguard anyway. There’s lots of buzz around this one, with its late December release date hinting at a potential Oscars run. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker star Naomi Ackie has the difficult task of portraying Whitney but she’s recently impressed in Master of None and The End of the F***ing World.
Still, even if the film isn’t all that in the end, the fact that it will contain many of Whitney’s most beloved songs should still make it a must-see for fans.
Going Electric (N/A)
Put on hold for a few years due to COVID-19, it was confirmed last month that this Bob Dylan biopic is still in development. Timothée Chalamet – who else – has been recruited to portray the folk icon and he’s reportedly threw himself into preparation, even renting a house in Woodstock, New York, where Dylan lived for a while. It’s being directed by James Mangold, who directed Walk the Line, one of the greatest musical biopics of all time.
Weird: The Weird Al Yankovic Story (N/A)
Social media has been rightly agog in the last few weeks at the first pictures of Daniel Radcliffe – yes, Harry Potter himself – as Weird Al. Sporting a bushy black wig that looks like he picked it up in any random costume shop, Radcliffe is really doing his best to distance himself from HP as much as possible these days (looking at you, Swiss Army Man).
And given it’s a biopic of the zany parody writer, the Weird Al biopic should be lighthearted and comical and not very serious in the slightest.
The Bee Gees Biopic (N/A)
Get ready to put on those shiny medallions and flared trousers to watch the life and times of the disco icons. Paramount Pictures has tapped Kenneth Branagh of all people to direct the biopic, and The Bee Gees feel a long, long way away from Shakespearean adaptations.
British comedy legend Ben Elton is writing the script and, given the success he had with the Queen musical We Will Rock You, The Bee Gees could be in for a similar boost.
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne Biopic (N/A)
This as-yet-untitled biopic is being produced by Osbourne Media, namely Sharon and her kids Aimée and Jack. Does that mean it will be honest and truthful? Probably not.
If any musician has enough legendary stories to fill a biopic, though, it would be The Prince of Darkness. I mean, you could focus en entire film on that bat-eating incident.
It’s a long day since jazz singer Peggy Lee’s 50’s heyday, but Todd Haynes and Billie Eilish think there’s enough interest in her life to make a biopic in 2022. The film will reportedly be structured around Lee’s most memorable performances, taking in jazz culture in mid-century America.
The project couldn’t be in better hands: Haynes just directed the wonderful Velvet Underground documentary, and previously made the extremely unconventional Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There. Eilish, weirdly, is set to executive produce the biopic. And Michelle Wiliams – who’s played another blonde bombshell from that era in My Week with Marilyn – should make for an excellent Lee.
Bob Marley Biopic (N/A)
How has there not been a Bob Marley biopic already? The reggae legend is finally getting a film about his life, with King Richard‘s Reinaldo Marcus Green set to direct. Kingsley Ben-Adir (Peaky Blinders, The OA) is going to take on the lead role.
The biopic is set to focus on an intense period in Marley’s life, taking place just after he survived an assassination attempt in Jamaica.
Bohemian Rhapsody alumni Lucy Boynton is stepping into the lead role in another biopic by playing 60’s singer Marianne Faithfull. The film will be set in Swinging Sixties London and will chronicle the highs and lows of Faithfull’s career, including her tumultuous relationship with Mick Jagger.
Michael Jackson Biopic (N/A)
The King of Pop is getting the biopic treatment from Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King. It might be a little one-sided in its portrayal of MJ’s life: the film is being made in cooperation with his official estate, which means serious subjects such as the child sexual abuse allegations may be skirted over. The Thriller icon still retains enough support and star power to make this a surefire box office success though.