Hustlers helmer Lorene Scafaria is coming on to direct the untitled Bee Gees movie, replacing Sing Street filmmaker John Carney, an individual with knowledge of the project has told Above the Line.
Tony Award winner and three-time Oscar nominee John Logan penned the latest draft of the script for Paramount, which had initially lined up Kenneth Branagh to direct the Bee Gees movie, though I have a feeling that Scafaria’s attachment will stick.
The Bee Gees, of course, are the iconic music group comprised of brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, who pivoted from folk songs and soft rock to disco, becoming falsettoed gods of the ’70s before the culture ruled disco dead the following decade. They group really took off with the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which became one of the best-selling albums ever.
Though Maurice and Robin died nearly a decade apart, Barry is still around to carry on his brothers’ legacy, granting Paramount the rights to classic Bee Gees songs. All in all, the Bee Gees are one of the best-selling groups of all time, having moved more than 220 million records.
If the Bee Gees movie can capture even a quarter of Bohemian Rhapsody‘s $910 million global haul, Paramount will likely strut away happy, as that would still be more than the studio’s Elton John biopic Rocketman ($195 million worldwide). The studio is also developing a Bob Marley biopic that will star Kingsley Ben-Adir.
Graham King is producing the Bee Gees movie under his GK Films banner along with Amblin, while Elisabeth Murdoch, Stacey Snider, and Jane Featherstone will produce via Sister. Barry Gibb is reportedly also very involved in the film and will serve as an executive producer on the project after participating in Frank Marshall‘s wonderful HBO documentary How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.
Scafaria broke out with her script for Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist before making her feature directorial debut with the Steve Carell–Keira Knightley movie Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. That movie didn’t make much of a dent, but Scafaria’s delightful follow-up, The Meddler, earned critical acclaim and won her the job of directing Hustlers, which, in addition to being a damn good movie — 87 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes — was also a big commercial hit for Lionsgate, grossing $157 million worldwide on a reported production budget of just $20 million.
Paramount is no doubt hoping that Scafaria can repeat that cost-efficient trick with the Bee Gees movie. She’s represented by UTA.