The Biopic is big Hollywood business and it seems everyone and his Mother is getting one. Next year alone will see Jesse Owens, Hank Williams, Edward Snowden and Eddie the Eagle get biopics alongside numerous others. Although it seems easy enough to get a biopic made, many huge stars or interesting people haven’t been given the Hollywood treatment and so sorely deserve it. Here are some of my suggestions for people you know and a few you haven’t heard of, that deserve the biopic treatment;
Martin Luther King
Lets start big. Martin Luther King was most recently portrayed on-screen by David Oyelow in Selma. By all accounts it was an Oscar worthy performance but only captured on key moment in the activist’s life. With a story so intrinsically linked with American history, it surprises me that he has never had the big, biopic treatment.
The Beatles had their movie in Backbeat but John Lennon alone has a great story. From working-class Liverpool lad to becoming “bigger than Jesus,” Lennon was part of the driving force behind the Fab Four. His story is one of success, self-discovery, reinvention and then tragedy. It is ripe for the movie treatment.
Adolf Hitler has already had the biopic treatment in both Downfall and the tv movie Rise of Evil but the former only covers the last week in power and the latter is a mix-match of truth, hyperbole and down-right lies. A truthful movie which covers his life properly, from struggling artist to dictator of Germany could be great. If not Hitler, the similar and almost parallel rise of his Russian counterpart Joseph Stalin would work too.
Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole
The Crimean War saw two amazing individuals risk their lives to travel to a warzone and become nurses. Florence Nightingale famously became the lady with the lamp, against her upper-class family’s wishes. Mary Seacole was a Jamaican nurse who put everything she had into setting up a battlefield hospital. One became a nursing legend, the other died penniless – could be a great film!
Notorious BIG got his biopic and it was a decent look at the rapper’s life if somewhat under-whelming. Tupac’s life is arguably more interesting, with an early criminal career, links to The Black Panthers and then the other side of the feud that may have eventually killed him. It shocks me that this hasn’t already been done.
100 years ago this year, Edith Cavell was executed by the German army for helping smuggle British soldiers out of her battlefield hospital and into the safety of the Netherlands during World War 1. The fact she was also a nurse who helped both the British and Germans only makes her story more interesting. A lesser known but very interesting figure from history.
May be weird to do a movie about someone who is still alive but at least you could ask for their viewpoint too. Debbie Harry led a rock and roll lifestyle, had many an affair with the band she made famous as well as making a mark on music history. A movie-worthy story.
This could be a film for either or a movie for both. There have been plenty of tv films that have butchered the stars stories but a decent, truthful Hollywood version is begging to be told. Janet could be the eyes we watch Michael’s rise and fall through, although she is worthy of her own movie too.
A lesser known figure from British history. Walter Tull was the first British Black outfield player in professional football (soccer for the US readers) as well as being involved and killed in the First World War. A story that begins in an orphanage, survives racism on the football field and ends on the battlefields of The Great War seems like an easy movie to make.
It surprises me that if Steve Jobs has been given a movie, Bill Gates hasn’t. Not sure that there is an impressive story here but I’m sure the rags to riches tale is one that could be given a decent spin.
Overall, ten choices that could make for very interesting biopics. The famous people surprise me for their lack of a movie and the less famous seem like obvious choices too. Let me know if you think there are any we could add.