Following the smash success of biopics like "Elvis" (Elvis Presley), "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Queen) and "Oppenheimer" (J. Robert Oppenheimer) in recent years, movie buffs have been eagerly anticipating for more films based on their favourite icons to hit the screens. Here are three epics to add to your list in 2024...
Rumours surrounding the new Michael Jackson biopic were solidified in late January this year after 26-year-old Jaafar Jackson, Michael Jackson’s nephew, uploaded an Instagram post expressing his excitement for the project. Jaafar writes, “I'm humbled and honoured to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life. To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon”.
Confirmed to be led by Beacon-award-winning director Antoine Fuqua, and triple-Oscar nominee scriptwriter John Logan, the movie will depict Michael Jackson’s personal struggles and the trajectory of his musical career. Having previously directed “The Equaliser” series, “The Training Day”, and Muhammad Ali’s “What's My Name?”, Fuqua also shared an Instagram post stating his intention to explore “the journey of the man that became the King of Pop”. Despite the tragic passing of his long-time professional partner Cedric Jones in October this year, production for the biopic has been progressing and the release date for the movie is planned to be in 2024.
Set in Santa Barbara, where Michael Jackson bought his mansion estate that has a current worth US$22 million, this new biopic aims to accurately replicate Michael Jackson’s life experiences and honour his forever-celebrated legacy. With a cast that is directly connected to the familial history of M. J’s life, and the prowess of an award-winning production team, this movie is guaranteed to portray an infinitely more intimate side of the iconic singer's life that the world stage has yet to see.
2) Back to Black
The tragic alcohol-induced death of beloved British singer Amy Winehouse in 2011 caused a significant, international grieving period. Whilst Winehouse has had many documentaries tributed to her musical legacy, including “Amy” which was directed by Grammy-winning director Asif Kapadia, the new biopic, produced by StudioCanal and set to be released in UK cinemas by April 2024, will be the first of its kind.
Named “Back to Black” after her iconic song, the movie will include an array of talented production and acting names. First, British actress Marisa Abela, who’s known for her role in “Cobra” and the 2023 “Barbie” movie, is confirmed to be playing the centre role of Amy Winehouse. Despite the previous rumours about Lady Gaga being assigned the position, Abela was casted for her professional brilliance and her desired Jewish heritage. Despite the unique request, the production team’s goal for the cast is to be as authentically woven into the character portrayal as possible. Further, assigned the role of Amy’s controversial ex-boyfriend Chris Taylor is Ryan O’Doherty who has dabbled in numerous creative endeavours within the acting, writing, and multi-media sector. Despite the Amy Winehouse Foundation’s current legal battles concerning the posthumous profits made from the singer's legacy, the estate has approved the new upcoming biopic on Amy’s life and allowed the licensing of her songs to be featured in the movie's soundtrack.
From its initial conception in 2018 to its exciting production throughout 2023, the international community has eagerly anticipated the final release of the movie in 2024 which raises awareness about the dangers of substance abuse, yet also promises to shine a new light on Amy Winehouse’s private struggles and proud milestones.
Making her first comeback since her 14-year hiatus, Angelina Jolie is finally re-entering the film stage with her new 2024 biopic depicting the life of Maria Callus. Born in 1923 in Manhattan into an impoverished Greek family, Maria Callus is classed as one of the most famous opera singers of the twentieth century and was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
Despite her unparalleled prowess in the opera sphere, Maria’s personal life is known to have had ominous tones offstage, being riddled with health issues, domestic and financial abuse, sexual harassment, and toxic familial disputes. Set in Paris, the movie’s plot will portray the last years of the singer's life and depict the aftermath of the end of her abusive relationship with the Greek-Argentinian businessman Aristotle Onassis. Maria’s early death aged just 53 in 1977 caused by a heart attack, foregrounds the severity of her prior health issues that began in the 1950s. Her neuromuscular disorder which was left undiagnosed due to the misogynistic dismissal of her doctors eventually affected her singing abilities and stunted her opera career in the 60s. Stripped of her health rights by a broken healthcare system and deprived by her husband of her financial income due to patriarchy, Maria Callus was no stranger to oppression and misfortune.
Whilst no details of the soundtrack have been released so far, some speculations include the possibility of using recordings of Callus’s past Opera concerts.
The movie, which will be directed by multiple Grand Coral award-winning Chilean director Pablo Larrain, and which features the British screenwriter behind "Peaky-Blinders"' Steven Knight, has been in the production phase since early autumn this year, however, the specific release date has yet to be revealed.
This movie poses a great chance for Angeline Jolie, who is universally known for her humanitarian and altruistic values, to soulfully portray Maria’s tragically complex and heartfelt legacy.