Zachary Quinto in Talks to Star in Speilberg-Helmed Gershwin Biopic
Television and film star Zach Quinto is expected to star in the upcoming George Gershwin biopic, produced by DreamWorks and Steven Speilberg, according to published reports. Quinto, star of television's "Heroes" and the recent JJ Abrams Star Trek remake, will play the famed composer who, during his short life, wrote many vocal and theatrical works, including more than a dozen Broadway shows.
While no official announcements on the project have been made by DreamWorks, the deal is reportedly nearing completion and the film will take a similar form to the company's biopic on Martin Luther King Jr., headed by Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider, that went into production in May.
The film will detail Gershwin's entire life: from his childhood in Brooklyn as a first generation American, to him untimely death in Hollywood in 1937 at 38.
During his career, he wrote more than a dozen Broadway shows with his older brother Ira Gershwin. George Gershwin's music, which spanned popular and classical genres, includes the hits "Rhapsody in Blue" and "An American in Paris." His first published song was "When You Want 'Em You Can't Get 'Em, When You've Got 'Em, You Don't Want 'Em." It was published in 1916 when Gershwin was only 17 years old and earned him a sum total of $5.
The musical great would go on to write the 1917 novelty rag "Rialto Ripples," a commercial success, and in 1919 he scored his first big national hit with his song "Swanee." In 1916, Gershwin started working for Aeolian Company and Standard Music Rolls in New York, recording and arranging. He produced dozens, if not hundreds, of rolls under his own and assumed names. In 1924, George and Ira Gershwin collaborated on a musical comedy Lady Be Good, which included such future standards as "Fascinating Rhythm" and "Oh, Lady Be Good!." This was followed by Oh, Kay! (1926), Funny Face (1927), Strike up the Band (1927 and 1930), Show Girl (1929), Girl Crazy (1930), which introduced the standard "I Got Rhythm"; and Of Thee I Sing (1931), the first musical comedy to win a Pulitzer Prize. Porgy and Bess (1935) has been deemed his most ambitious project. Additional Broadway compositions include: Let 'Em Eat Cake (1933), and Pardon my English (1933), amongst many others.
Gershwin died of a cystic malignant brain tumor.
The film is a passion project for Feinstein, who is a Gershwin expert and who worked for Ira Gershwin as a catalog clerk for his phonograph record collection containing the works of Ira and George for six years. Feinstein has recorded several albums of Gershwin music over the years including "Nice Work if You Can Get It" and "Michael and George."
Wright, whose screenplay "Town House" is being developed for Zach Galifianakis and Amy Adams for Fox 2000, has recently adapted and directed the play "Creditors," which opened at La Jolla Playhouse to much critical acclaim.