Yesterday, HBO Films announced plans for the upcoming movie The Day the Laughter Stopped, based on the true story of Fatty Arbuckle, the wildly popular silent movie comic (second only to Chaplin) whose career was brought to a screeching halt when he was falsely accused of raping and murdering a starlet named Virginia Rappe at a Labor Day party in 1921. Though he was ultimately acquitted of the crime, Arbuckle’s reputation was ruined forever, and in the wake of the scandal, Hollywood studios cracked down on both on-screen sex and the off-screen lives of their stars.
Good movie material, yeah? We’ve thought so for years, and look forward to seeing what John Adams writer Kirk Ellis, You Don’t Know Jack director Barry Levinson, and Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet (we’d always seen Oliver Platt in the role, but that’s neither here nor there) come up with. Meanwhile, the recent, surprise release of the West Memphis Three has provided filmmaker Atom Egoyan with an unexpectedly upbeat ending to his already-in-the-works WM3 film. Both of these tidbits got us thinking about some of the real lives we’d like to see get the biopic treatment. Check out our picks after the jump, and add your own in the comments.
Our first three are perhaps cheats, since they’re projects that actually are in some form of development — but they’ve been talking about them forever, and we’re ready to just see the damn things already. First and foremost is the project that cinephiles have been drooling over for more than a decade: Dino, Martin Scorsese’s film biography of Dean Martin, adapted from Nick Toches’ book by screenwriter Nicolas Pileggi, Scorsese’s collaborator on Goodfellas and Casino. Scorsese bought the rights to the book clear back in 1992 and Pileggi had a script ready a few years later; word circulated that Scorsese was courting an all-star cast that included Tom Hanks (Martin), John Travolta (Frank Sinatra), Jim Carrey (Jerry Lewis), Hugh Grant (Peter Lawford), and Adam Sandler (Joey Bishop). But either due to the cost or availability of that dream cast, the project never came to be; talk of the project died out altogether in 2009, when word circulated that Scorsese was making a Sinatra biopic instead. That one is still languishing as well. Either one will be fine, Marty. Whenever you get the chance.