New ‘Piano Man’ Biopic Will Highlight Billy Joel’s Early Years
A Billy Joel biopic has the green light, but the "Piano Man" singer won't be involved with the project.
The movie will come from Michael Jai White’s Jaigantic Studios, Variety reported. White's work as an actor, writer and director includes Arrow, The Dark Knight, Spawn, Mortal Kombat: Legacy and the 2009 action-comedy, Black Dynamite. Adam Ripp has been tapped to write and direct the upcoming Piano Man.
The project will follow Joel’s early years and will be told from the perspective of his first manager, Irwin Mazur, who discovered the singer when he was 16. Mazur managed Joel from 1965 to 1972, the year before the breakthrough Piano Man album was released.
The biopic will also spotlight Joel's time playing in a Long Island cover band in the '60s, along with a breakout performance in 1972 that captured the attention of Clive Davis.
Joel, however, is not involved with the film project, and no rights will be granted to use his music, name, likeness or life story, according to Variety. The filmmakers have acquired the life rights to Mazur, but they have not announced how they will incorporate Joel's music catalog into the storyline.
Piano Man is the latest ripple in a wave of music-based biopics to hit the big screen. The record-breaking Bohemian Rhapsody from 2018 is the most successful so far, earning more than $900 million and solidifying Queen as the most-played rock band on radio around the world.
The Elvis biopic is set to hit theaters on June 24 and stars Tom Hanks as Elvis Presley's manager, Col. Tom Parker. The Real Me, the working title for the biopic about the late Who drummer, Keith Moon, will start shooting this summer — Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are executive producers on the project. A movie about the decades-long relationship between Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne is in the works, too; it will be produced by two of Osbourne's children, Aimee and Jack. The Osbourne film doesn't have a title or a release date but has been confirmed by the couple.
Joel's music may not be part of the upcoming movie that will spotlight his early career, but it is part of the tour landscape this year. Joel has already played several concerts in New York and Las Vegas and has more dates scheduled for the rest of 2022.