A biopic of legendary impresario and rock promoter Bill Graham is set to roll for 20th Century Fox, after the studio acquired his autobiography, Bill Graham: My Life Inside Rock And Out, for adaptation. Shawn Levy will direct and produce the film, while David Graham, Alex Graham, and autobiography co-writer Robert Greenfield will co-produce.
Bill Graham died in 1991, aged 60, when his helicopter crashed in California on his way back from a Huey Lewis And The News concert. His tragic end came at the culmination of a fascinating life which saw him escape the Holocaust and settle in the U.S, where he earned a degree in business. He began his career as an impresario and promoter in San Francisco by managing the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Eventually, he expanded his portfolio, and was instrumental in the success of artists such as Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.
Shawn Levy is generally renowned for his work in comedy, with movies such as This Is Where I Leave You, The Internship, and the Night At The Museum franchise most prominent on his resume. A move into the biopic arena would be a significant shift for the filmmaker, but gives an indication of the tone this project may be striving for. Though the studio has yet to assign any writers to the film, there is certainly scope for humour among the drama, in this tale of rock music and charitable endeavours.
The most interesting part of such a high profile film will be the casting of the lead role. With Levy’s comedic history, this Bill Graham biopic could be a new opportunity for a comedy actor to take on a more dramatic role. In addition, we may well see the casting of notable actors in the roles of the legendary rock stars that were associated with the rise and success of Bill Graham. Now that Shawn Levy is in the director’s chair, these are announcements we can hope to hear soon.