Oscar-nominated filmmaker Kenneth Branagh has been tapped to direct Paramount‘s untitled Bee Gees biopic from Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King.
Ben Elton is writing the latest draft of the screenplay, having previously written Branagh‘s 2018 drama All Is True, in which the noted Shakespeare fan played the Bard himself. King is producing via his GK Films along with Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Partners and Stacey Snider‘s company Sister, which she launched with Elisabeth Murdoch and Jane Featherstone.
The Bee Gees are the iconic music group comprised of brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, who pivoted from folk songs and soft rock to disco, becoming falsettoed gods of the ’70s before the culture ruled disco dead the following decade. While Maurice died suddenly in 2003 at the age of 53 and Robin died in 2012 at age 62, Barry Gibb is still around to carry on the band’s legacy, and he’ll serve as an executive producer on Paramount’s biopic.
The narrative film arrives on the heels of Frank Marshall‘s acclaimed HBO documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, which introduced the group to a new generation — including myself — that may not have been familiar with the breadth of their songwriting catalog.
Paramount‘s deal for the plum project gave them life rights to the Gibb family as well as music rights that will allow Branagh to use the Bee Gees‘ classic songs — something considered essential if Paramount hopes to repeat the success of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody that King produced. The Bee Gees have sold more than 220 million records, so there is certainly a fanbase out there that would, in theory, be very excited to see this movie.
Branagh earned Oscar nominations for directing Henry V and the short film Swan Song as well as writing 1996’s Hamlet. He also has a pair of Oscar nominations as an actor and will reprise his role as Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile, which like its predecessor Murder on the Orient Express, he also directed. Branagh recently played the villain in Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet, and he has already wrapped his next directorial feature, Belfast, which stars Judi Dench, Caitrona Balfe, Jamie Dornan and Ciarán Hinds.
As for Branagh‘s Disney+ movie Artemis Fowl, I’ve agreed to never speak of it again because I couldn’t bring myself to see it. Sorry, but I don’t do dirt farts. Still, he’s a solid if surprising choice for this Bee Gees movie, and I can’t wait to see who he casts as the Gibb brothers.