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Frank Sinatra Biopic Still in the Works with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

In a new report from Variety, Martin Scorsese is reportedly still looking to direct a biopic about the legendary singer Frank Sinatra—a film he’s been trying to make for over two decades.

Martin Scorsese Still Trying to Make Frank Sinatra Biopic with Leonardo DiCaprio
Martin Scorsese, Image Courtesy of TIME Magazine / Frank Sinatra, Image Courtesy of Capitol Records / Leonardo DiCaprio, Image Courtesy of British Vogue

The Sinatra biopic is expected to shoot back-to-back with Scorsese’s Jesus Christ film; the Christ film will shoot first and the Sinatra film second. However, the biopic may not come to fruition as Tina Sinatra, Frank’s daughter who controls the estate, has not given Scorsese her approval to make the film.

Scorsese is looking to reunite with long-time collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio for a seventh time as he’s casting him for the titular role and Jennifer Lawrence as Sinatra’s second wife Ava Gardner. This would mark Lawrence’s first time on a Scorsese film, however Lawrence and DiCaprio worked together previously on Adam McKay’s black comedy Don’t Look Up in 2021.

Martin Scorsese Still Trying to Make Frank Sinatra Biopic with Leonardo DiCaprio
Don’t Look Up / Image Courtesy of Netflix

Due to the A-list cast, the film has been drawing interest from major studios and streamers. Scorsese’s last film was financed by Apple who gained from having a prestige director such as Scorsese on their streaming service, however Sony is reported to be the frontrunner to produce the film. 

Killers of the Flower Moon was able to cumulate $150 million worldwide—just $50 million shy from the film’s $200 million budget. However, a biopic on one of America’s most legendary singers is a good bet for a box office hit.

History of the Sinatra Biopic

This isn’t Scorsese’s first time trying to get a Sinatra biopic made. The director has reportedly been trying to make a film about the Italian-American singer since the turn of the century with John Travolta portraying the lead and Tom Hanks as Dean Martin. However, the film never got off the ground and developments went quiet which can be surmised due to Sinatra’s estate not approving the film.

Then, in 2009, it was reported Scorsese was coming back to the biopic with Phil Alden Robinson (The Chamber) penning the script. Although Sinatra hadn’t been cast at the time, Mandalay Pictures’ Cathay Shulman said DiCaprio would be the most obvious candidate considering his then four collaborations with Scorsese. Eventually, the film would be met with more obstacles from Sinatra’s estate as Scorsese wanted to delve into Sinatra’s mafia connections—hence explaining Tina Sinatra not approving the film today.

Martin Scorsese Silence Red Carpet
Martin Scorsese on the Red Carpet for Silence / Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

In 2017, during press for Silence, Scorsese revealed that the biopic wasn’t happening, “We can’t do it! I think it is finally over. They [Sinatra’s estate] won’t agree to it. Open it up again and I’m there!” Scorsese continued to explain the estate’s apprehension:

“Certain things are very difficult for a family, and I totally understand. But, if they expect me to be doing it, they can’t hold back certain things. The problem is that the man was so complex. Everybody is so complex — but Sinatra in particular.”

With the Frank Sinatra biopic seemingly back in development perhaps details have changed behind-the-scenes considering Scorsese deemed the project to be dead in 2017.

Other Scorsese Projects

The 81-year-old director is showing no signs of slowing down as he additionally has a film based on the novel The Wager, from author David Grann, in the works. This marks the second time Scorsese is adapting one of Grann’s novels as Grann authored Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. 

Martin Scorsese Still Trying to Make Frank Sinatra Biopic with Leonardo DiCaprio
Lily Gladstone and Martin Scorsese on-set of Killers of the Flower Moon / Image Courtesy of Apple

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Based in Sydney, Australia. Sameer created Feature First with friends out of a passion for films in June 2023. He currently manages the news reporting, maintains the website frontend and creates graphics for Facebook and Instagram. He is also studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications. You can find Sameer re-watching his favourite film trailers.