Five music biopics to look forward to

Jennifer Hudson will appear as Aretha Franklin in a new biopic that is set to hit theaters in August. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Jennifer Hudson will appear as Aretha Franklin in a new biopic that is set to hit theaters in August. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A six-part limited series about Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones is just the latest musical biopic to be announced as studios work to chronicle the lives of various music icons.

Films based on Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley and more are currently in development or set for release in 2021 and beyond.


Here are five music biopics coming to theaters and your TV.

'Respect' -- Aretha Franklin

Jennifer Hudson stars as the late Aretha Franklin in this biopic from director Liesl Tommy, set to be released on Aug. 13. Respect will follow the rise of Franklin's career from singing in her father's church choir to international superstar. Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan and Mary J. Blige also star.

'Elvis' -- Elvis Presley

Austin Butler takes on the role of late icon Elvis Presley in Elvis, slated to hit theaters in November. Tom Hanks will portray Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker, with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Olivia DeJonge, Rufus Sewell and Yola also starring. Director Baz Luhrmann penned the script with Craig Pearce. The biopic will cover Presley's career over 20 years and his relationship with Parker.


'I Wanna Dance with Somebody' -- Whitney Houston

Naomi Ackie will play the late Whitney Houston in biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody, set for a Thanksgiving 2022 release. The film, from Stella Meghie, will showcase Houston's life and career. Houston's catalog including her vocals, will be featured in the film with the backing of the Houston estate. Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody) penned the script, with Houston's manager and sister-in-law Pat Houston producing.

'Maestro' -- Leonard Bernstein

Bradley Cooper is producing, co-writing, directing and co-starring in Maestro, a biopic about celebrated composer Leonard Bernstein. Cooper will star as Bernstein in the film, which will begin production this year. Bernstein is behind musical hits such as West Side Story. The film will span 30 years and focus on Bernstein's relationship with his wife, Felicia Montealegre.


Madonna will direct a film based on her life, which she is co-writing with Diablo Cody (Juno). Madonna is additionally producing the untitled project along with Amy Pascal (Little Women, Spider-Man). The film does not have a set release window. Madonna said she wants to convey her incredible journey as an artist, musician, dancer and human being.


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