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Biopic on Closeted Gay Beatles Manager Brian Epstein Coming from 'Milk' Producer Bruce Cohen

A new biopic on closeted gay Beatles manager Brian Epstein will be the first ever awarded the right to use the band's original songs and is being produced by Oscar-winning producer (and AFER board member) Bruce Cohen (Milk, American Beauty), Deadline reports.

BeatlesPic is scripted by Tony-winning producer Vivek J. Tiwary (Green Day’s American Idiot, Mel Brooks’ The Producers) from his own forthcoming graphic novel with art by Andrew C. Robinson and cartoonist Kyle Baker, which Dark Horse releases November 19. Tiwary will produce alongside Cohen, who won the Oscar in 2000 for American Beauty. Production is set to begin in 2014.

The Guardian adds:

Titled The Fifth Beatle, the film will document the life of Epstein from his discovery of the Liverpudlian group to his death by accidental overdose in 1967 at the age of 32...

Epstein was the closeted gay Liverpudlian entrepreneur who brought the Fab Four to the public's attention. Starting out in the music business by selling records from his father's appliance store in Liverpool, he heard the Beatles on his lunch break at the Cavern Club and relentlessly pursued a record deal with EMI once installed as the quartet's manager...

...There have been efforts to bring Epstein's story to the big screen before, but a planned biopic based on a screenplay by Tony Gittelson floundered in 2009. The manager was played by David Angus in 1991's The Hours and Times, a fictional retelling of a holiday Epstein took with John Lennon (Ian Hart) in 1963. Hart also played Lennon in 1994's Backbeat, about the band's early days performing in Hamburg, in which Epstein was not a major character.

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  1. I don't think the Beatles were ever comfortable talking about Brian's homosexuality. A little homophobic, perhaps.

    Posted by: adrenan p | Oct 1, 2013 12:25:36 PM

  2. This is a really big deal. Brian was a fascinating man, and his story needs to be told. He had remarkable influence and was respected and loved by many.

    If you're curious, check out the wiki on him...

    The Bee Gees even wrote a song about him : "In The Summer Of His Years"...

    Posted by: Duke | Oct 1, 2013 12:26:03 PM

  3. Yes, the man who wrote "Imagine" was a raging bigot.

    JasonBrianAdrenan, you're more hysterical than usual today. But at least your usernames are evolving!

    Posted by: crispy | Oct 1, 2013 12:32:06 PM

  4. He knows how to "milk" a story. "Imagine no gay marriage.." he wasn't just a bigot, he's evolved to "raging bigot." I didn't know there were levels.

    Posted by: GH | Oct 1, 2013 1:05:52 PM

  5. I have never seen any evidence that any of the Beatles were homophobic. In fact, I've always heard that "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" was inspired, in large part, by a sympathetic look at Brian Epstein's dealing with homophobia.

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 1, 2013 1:33:30 PM

  6. Crispy, John Lennon WAS a bigot who made homophobic and antisemitic comments to and about Brian Epstein all the time. He even beat someone half to death for calling him a queer. He was a phenomenally terrible person, his homophobia is only the tip of the iceberg really.

    Posted by: JMC | Oct 1, 2013 2:47:00 PM

  7. This sounds like a great and exciting movie. Without Brian Epstein there would be no Beatles - at least as we know them today. He was the conductor, the band leader that catapulted the Beatles into history and he was gay. Sounds like Oscar material to me. I can't wait!

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Oct 1, 2013 2:50:04 PM

  8. Oh, please. Lennon was a complex and emotional man with a notorious temper, not to mention a drug habit. But I don't believe for 2 seconds that he was a bigot.

    But please, anonymous Internet commenter, continue to spread your unsubstantiated and uncited accusations.

    Posted by: crispy | Oct 1, 2013 2:59:33 PM

  9. Lennon wasn't a bigot, though some people foolishly think they can get away with attempts to depict him that way.

    There's even a Beatle's song where they all sing at the end of it, as it's fading-out, "We Are Gay". Anybody know which one ?

    Posted by: OMG-REALLY | Oct 1, 2013 3:30:52 PM

  10. John Lennon loved Brian Epstein. The two of them went to Spain alone together during a break in the Beatles schedule. But it was the 60's & John often used the "f" word. He told Brian to title the autobiography he (Brian) was writing "Fag Jew". During the fade of "Baby You're a Rich Man" you can hear John singing 'baby you're a rich fag jew". But it was meant as an affectionate jest. John & Yoko became champions of gay rights during the 70's.

    Posted by: Grady | Oct 1, 2013 4:14:35 PM

  11. Now you're going after icon John Lennon. Everyone was homophobic in the early 1960's. It's not like today when people have been brainwashed and threatened into thinking they have to support gays. People in the past had a clearer perception of what gay sex entailed.
    It was made creepy by society, like society today is making it bigotry not to support it. Times change and can change again.

    Posted by: GH | Oct 1, 2013 4:38:38 PM

  12. Who flipping cares? On the spectrum of things which are important right now, this rates a flat zero.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Oct 1, 2013 4:38:40 PM

  13. I believe that the title that John Lennon, with his acerbic wit, suggested to Brian Epstein for his autobiography was "Queer Jew" not "Fag Jew". Not much difference, I guess, but it was a joke.

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 1, 2013 5:31:17 PM

  14. The problem for the Beatles was that homosexuality was still illegal in the UK, so they would have lost their manager and all that would entail had Epstein been officially found out. They were all very nervous about it. Epstein was also a huge drug addict and there was always the chance the drug and homosex charges could do them in.

    This movie comes well after the general public became informed about Epstein, which was generally during the Beatles mini revival period in the eighties after John died.

    Lennon had youthful infatuations with other males but didn't like the gay tag line. After a while his bisexuality became steady heterosexuality and he was more tolerant of gay men in general.

    Posted by: anon | Oct 1, 2013 6:51:11 PM

  15. "Not much difference, I guess, but it was a joke"

    There IS a difference in the UK! A "fag" is a cigarette, it doesn't have the same meaning in the UK as it does in the US.

    Brian Epstein's story is kind of sad, I hope they deal with it honestly. As mentioned, being homosexual was illegal in the UK until 1967, it was viciously prosecuted. Epstein liked rough trade and he got the crap beaten out of himself at least 3 times from tricks gone wrong.

    After The Beatles stopped touring in late 1966, he was a lost soul, they didn't really need his services any more, though maybe he would have prevented the disasters that were Apple Corps. and Allen Klein.

    Hope this gets made, if it gets good reviews, it's a must-see for me.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Oct 1, 2013 7:47:31 PM

  16. Andy, this is really old news, as in nearly a year ago:

    And there is not one, but TWO biopics in the works on Brain Epstein - the other one produced by Tom Hanks and starring Benedict Cumberbatch:

    Also, they turned the movie Backbeat into a stage musical:

    Posted by: Ruddigore | Oct 1, 2013 8:31:37 PM

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