Marlon Brando is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of all time, while Billy Zane is, um, not. Nevertheless, the Titanic villain has signed on to play The Godfather star in the indie movie Waltzing With Brando, which Zane will also produce.
Bill Fishman is writing and directing the film, which is based on a memoir by Bernard Judge, a Los Angeles-based architect whom Brando hired to build the world’s first ecologically perfect retreat on a tiny and uninhabitable Tahitian island. The story will largely take place between 1969 and 1974, when Brando and Judge spent time on the remote island while the actor was preparing to star in The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris.
Zane previously worked with Fishman on the 1993 western Posse, so he already has a rapport with the director, who plans to start shooting later this year. While you might think an A-list actor would be best suited to play Brando (Tom Hardy has been rumored for a different Brando project in the past), I can see how Zane actually looks the part.
To be honest, Zane gets a bad rap these days, largely because he’s been shut out of mainstream Hollywood productions ever since Titanic. That doesn’t really make any sense to me considering he played the villain in one of the highest-grossing films of all time, but outside of his cameo appearances in the Zoolander movies, I’ve only seen one film featuring Billy Zane since Titanic, and that was the little-seen Ryan Gosling movie The Believer. Seriously, this guy’s credits read like hieroglyphics to me, and yet, I really, really enjoyed his villainous turns in both Dead Calm and Demon Knight. He also appeared in Tombstone, the cult classic horror film Critters, and the first two Back to the Future movies, Apparently, Zane took home a Best Actor award at the Golden Movie Awards last week for his role in the romantic drama Lucid. I haven’t heard of that film, or that awards show, but it’s totally possible that Zane is doing solid work under the radar.
Zane will soon be seen in a street-racing series called Curfew that co-stars Sean Bean and Miranda Richardson. He’s represented by International Artists Management and Underground.