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30 Best Biopics Currently In Development

All Is By My Side

The True Story: Axemaster, voodoo chile, frequent greeter of a man named ‘Joe’… Jimi Hendrix is known the world over for being the greatest guitarist who ever lived popularising blues-rock music (as well as the wah-wah pedal) and leaving generations of budding guitarists in his wake all trying to master his solo in All Along The Watchtower. Behind the scenes, of course, there was the usual tale of debauched sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, until he died of a drug-related asphyxia in 1970 aged just 27.

The Movie Version: The André Benjamin-starring film has had its fair amount of setbacks already, the worst of which was the refusal by the Hendrix estate to let them use any of his songs. More recently, Hendrix’s former girlfriend has criticised the film for her own portrayal and has managed to get it re-edited as a result. Still, there should still be lots of sexface-making guitaring that will be fun to watch.

Why We're Excited: We just can’t wait to see how they’re going to make a film about musician Jimi Hendrix without using any of musician Jimi Hendrix’s actual songs.

Get Happy: The Life Of Judy Garland

The True Story: Renowned actress and singer who enjoyed an extensive career in Hollywood that started when she was just a teenager.

Despite a hugely successful music and film career, Garland had many personal troubles, which led to several failed marriages and a long battles with drugs and alcohol addiction. She died in 1967 aged 47 from an overdose.

The Movie Version: At one point, Darren Aronofsky was slated to direct this biopic, but he has since denied the claim.

What we do know, however, is that Anne Hathaway will almost definitely play the star, having been attached to the role since 2009. The film is based on a 2000 biography and will explore Garland’s addiction problems, her suicide attempts and troubled relationships.

Why We're Excited: It’s a grittier take on a star who we’d all rather remember as being an untouched screen icon, but we can’t deny that Hathaway portraying this darker side of the story wouldn’t be utterly compelling.

Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?

The True Story: Legendary comedian generally regarded to be one of the best stand-up performers in the history of the profession.

His unusual upbringing (he was raised in a brothel) and often tragic personal experiences led to an acerbic style, touching on many controversial issues, particularly racism.

Of course, he is also a much-loved comedy film actor from the 70s and 80s. He died of a heart attack in 2005 at the age of 65.

The Movie Version: The film has spent 18 years in development, with both Eddie Murphy and Marlon Wayans attached to star at separate points, all with Bill Condon set to direct.

However, when he left to film the final Twilight instalments, Forest Whitaker picked the project up. He is now producing the film and developing an entirely new screenplay with Richard's widow, Jennifer Pryor.

Why We're Excited: Pryor is a genuine, charismatic screen legend with a fascinatingly shocking history.

The film could prove to be both a wonderful homage to the late, great star, as well as a real eye-opener.

Sexual Healing

The True Story: Marvin Gaye rose to fame in the 60s with an array of soulful songs and enjoyed a series of hits that earned him the nickname ‘Prince of Motown’.

Behind the scenes though, there’s much tragedy, starting first with his rough upbringing at the hands of a “cruel” father. Following his initial success, Gaye struggled with his career in the late 70s, becoming dependent on cocaine and moving to London to avoid his failure to pay US taxes.

Despite regaining credibility as an artist, Gaye died in 1984 after he was shot twice by his father, using a gun that his son had given to him as a Christmas present.

The Movie Version: Directed by Julien Temple, the film stars Jessie L. Martin and focuses on Gaye’s life in the 80s, shortly before his death.

There’s no release date yet, but early reports suggest the film will come out on 1st April 2014 – marking the 30th anniversary of Gaye’s death.

Why We're Excited: Marvin Gaye’s untimely demise has always been a bleak chapter of pop history and something definitely worthy of some big-screen exploration.

The Owl In Daylight

The True Story: Sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, whose works have been adapted into the likes of Blade Runner , Total Recall , Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly .

With his books often exploring metaphysical themes, he gained a huge readership with his intelligent prose that often delved into existential concepts.

In 1974, he started to have hallucinations, believing that a pink beam of light imparted wisdom to him and, eventually, claiming to live two separate lives – his own and that of an ancient Roman named Thomas.

He also believed that he was possessed by the spirit of the prophet Elijah during the writing of one novel.

He died in 1982 folowing complications brought on by a stroke.

The Movie Version: Paul Giamatti is in the frame to play the author in this biopic, but the Philip K. Dick estate has stalled on the project several times.

The script takes Dick’s unfinished novel The Owl In The Daylight as its starting point before taking a meta-diversion to explore the author’s life.

Why We're Excited: It sounds wonderfully surreal and twisty as hell. Plus Giamatti has great form in unusual biopics after his American Splendor .


The True Story: Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, Elton John grew up in a reserved family environment – something which he later blamed for his desire to wear increasingly flamboyant outfits on stage.

Elton would go on to become one of the biggest-selling music artists of all time, as well as openly gay and a staunch fighter in the campaign to combat AIDS, raising millions of pounds for charity in the process.

The Movie Version: Director Michael Gracey is currently planning to bring Elton John’s story to the big screen and the film has already landed a distribution deal.

No signs yet as to who will star, but War Horse/Billy Elliott scribe Lee Hall has written the script, which will chronicle Elton’s rise to stardom from his initial days as a child piano prodigy.

Why We're Excited: Great tunes and outrageous costumes?

This could be the glam-rock version of Behind The Candelabra.

In Black And White: The Life Of Sammy Davis Jr

The True Story: Before he became Mr Showbiz - an all-singing, all-dancing, all-acting member of the Rat Pack (who was also good at impressions) - Sammy Davis Jr began his career as a member of a vaudeville trio at the age of three.

He actively helped in the campaign against racism, having dealt with prejudice himself throughout his career. He also lost an eye in a car accident and converted to Judaism. He died of throat cancer on May 16 1990 aged 64.

The Movie Version: Denzel Washington has had this project on the back burner for many years.

He's producing the film but not directing as early reports had suggested.

The film is set to start at Sammy Davis Jr aged 4 and will focus on his relationship with his father and mentor Will Maston, the other two members of his vaudeville act.

Why We're Excited: It will be a true insight into a Hollywood legend, exploring serious issues and themes at the same time. And surely it can't fail to be good with Denzel's star power behind it?

Untitled Freddie Mercury Project

The True Story: Flamboyant Queen singer with an impressive vocal range and co-writer of some of the greatest rock anthems of all time.

Freddie Mercury was originally born in Zanzibar (now Tanzania) and grew up there and in India.

Always coy about his sexuality in interviews, the star is considered to have been bisexual, having had a string of relationships throughout his career, as well as one serious, long-term relationship-turned-friendship with Mary Austin. He died of bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS on 24 November 1991.

The Movie Version: Sacha Baron Cohen was set to play the lead in what seemed like perfect casting, if only for the moustache, but he left due to creative differences with the remaining members of Queen.

Since then, rumours have been rife that Daniel Radcliffe was set to take the part, something that was thankfully denied by the actor.

The film is supposedly going to chronicle the years of Mercury's life leading up to Queen's appearance at Live Aid in 1985.

Why We're Excited: Mercury is a true showman and possibly the greatest frontman of all time, so seeing someone embody that is going to be a lot of fun.

Plus, of course, tuuuuuuunes.

Love & Mercy

The True Story: Brian Wilson was the driving force and chief songwriter for The Beach Boys, penning two dozen Top 40 hits and producing the legendary Pet Sounds album - long regarded as one of the best albums ever released and cited by Paul McCartney as the inspiration behind Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - at the age of just 23.

He subsequently suffered huge mental health issues and several nervous breakdowns not helped by his copious drug use.

After severe mental episodes, Wilson eventually made a successful comeback, recently touring with the Pet Sounds album as well as his long-lost Smile album and releasing new records.

The Movie Version: Filming wrapped last month on what looks like it could be a fitting tribute to the reclusive star.

Paul Dano and John Cusack play the younger and older Wilson respectively, while Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti make up some of the supporting cast.

The movie promises not to explore Wilson's entire life but rather focus in several key periods, such as the intensely creative time during which he wrote and recorded Pet Sounds.

Why We're Excited: It's a classic genius-wrestling-with-inner-demons story akin to A Beautiful Mind , only with far better tunes along the way.


The True Story: Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra is THE quintessential Hollywood icon, complete with incredible singing voice, acting talent and um… ties to the mob.

As a founding member of the Rat Pack, he lived a glitzy, glamorous life in the 50s and 60s, partying with celebrities and politicians.

He became one of the biggest-selling artists of all time, had a voice recognisable the world over and enjoyed an extensive film career. In short, he was an absolute legend.

The Movie Version: A sketchy one this as it has been a long-mooted passion project of Martin Scorsese for many, many years.

Last year, Hunger Games writer Billy Ray was hired to write the script, and many names have been suggested to take on the role – most recently, and easily to see why, Leonardo DiCaprio.

Scorsese seems keen to push the project forward but it has stalled many times before, and the big-eyebrowed one himself always seems to have other films on his plate, so who knows when this will eventually become a reailty.

Why We're Excited: It’s Martin Scorsese’s take on one of the biggest classical Hollywood legends of all time.

Everyone should be willing this to happen with every fibre of their being.