The runaway hit best-selling graphic novel The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, which is the absorbing and gripping true story of the life of Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who lived cloaked and shrouded in an existence that was at one point of the spectrum supernova successful and at the other utter tragedy, is being adapted for the silver screen.
A major advantage that this Beatles biopic has that other adaptations didn’t have (films like Backbeat, About A Boy, the TV film Birth of the Beatles and others) is that the producers were able to secure the music rights to the production, which means the original and wonderfully dulcet and otherwise sonic glory of The Beatles’ songs will be able to be used in its intrinsic format. Normally, most Beatles productions of this stripe employ sound-a-like versions of the Fab Four classics, and the films suffer because of their inferiority. Not the case with The Fifth Beatle.
The film will be directed by Peyton Reed, who has more of a pedigree in fluffy, feel good films such as the sleeper hits Bring It On, Down with Love, and The Break-Up, so it’s curious to see how material such as this will be handled. The removal of the red herrings that could be prevalent with such a story as Epstein’s is that The Fifth Beatle is focused more on his life and his perspective rather than The Beatles’ point of view, as is the wont of so many other examinations of the entire Beatles phenomenon. The story, as I reviewed earlier here, is refreshingly more of a study into a complex man, who preferred a life of pampered ordinary, to unconsciously coin an oxymoron, and trying to walk the tightrope of it in a situation most extraordinary.
The sharp mind and ear for the just right dialogue belongs to the novels author, the Tony award-winning Vivek J. Tiwary, who also helmed the screenplay. Now with all the financial components in place and the greenlight given, one of the final puzzle pieces is the casting. Production begins in 2014 and it should be interesting to see the final result.
Either way, it will be nice that Brian Epstein will finally be immortalized on film. Whether that film does him, his complex life story, and The Beatles’ involvement in it justice, is anybody’s guess.