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Martin Scorsese is eying Leonardo DiCaprio for a Frank Sinatra biopic | Image: Frank Sinatra Enterprises

Martin Scorsese Eyeing Frank Sinatra Biopic with Leonardo DiCaprio

Hollywood’s dream team of Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are gearing up to reunite for yet another project, this time tackling a music legend. Per Variety, the 81-year-old director is adding a Frank Sinatra biopic to his already ambitious slate, which includes a film on the life of Jesus Christ as well as a Cape Fear TV series for Apple TV+. Scorsese is eyeing his favourite leading man, Leonardo DiCaprio, to play Sinatra and Jennifer Lawrence to play his second wife, the actress Ava Gardner.

While still in its early stages, the untitled Frank Sinatra biopic has drawn significant interest from major studios, with Sony reportedly leading the pack. However, securing the go-ahead depends on approval from Sinatra’s daughter, Tina (75), who controls her father’s estate. No plot details have been shared, and nothing is confirmed as of now, but given the casting choices, the film might follow Sinatra’s affair with Ava during his marriage to Tina’s mother, Nancy Barbato.

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Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio
Image: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Spanning a career of much of the 20th century, Francis Albert Sinatra, known as the “Chairman of the Board” and later called “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” charmed and mesmerised audiences as both a singer and actor. He rose to fame in the 1940s with his smooth vocals and charismatic stage presence. Beyond iconic hits like “My Way” and “New York, New York,” Sinatra found acclaim in films like 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate and the original Ocean’s Eleven (1960).

Sinatra’s personal life, marked by four marriages, was as much a part of his public persona as his music. His most famous relationship was with actress Ava Gardner in 1951, a whirlwind romance that culminated in a marriage that same year but ended in divorce by 1957. Sinatra later married Mia Farrow, and then Barbara Marx in 1976, with whom he remained until his death.

Frank Sinatra and Angie Dickinson in Ocean's Eleven (1960) | Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
Frank Sinatra and Angie Dickinson in Ocean’s Eleven (1960) | Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Musical biopics are having a major moment, with a wave of new projects washing over Hollywood. Biopics on Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson are already underway, and even acclaimed British director Sam Mendes is developing a series of four interconnected biopics focusing on The Beatles. This new flurry of musical biopics suggests that Hollywood is banking on the genre’s potential, capitalising on the star power of these musicians and the enduring fascination with their lives to draw audiences to theatres.

If Frank Sinatra’s biopic becomes a reality, it will be the seventh film collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorsese. The duo most recently collaborated on last year’s Killers of the Flower Moon, which also received 10 Oscar nominations. Besides DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, no other actors have been revealed to be attached to the biopic, and it is unclear if and when production will start. The Variety report also suggests that Scorsese intends to film both his upcoming Jesus movie and the Frank Sinatra biopic simultaneously. 

The director previously told the Los Angeles Times that his Jesus film would be adapted from Shūsaku Endō’s novel “A Life of Jesus,” further mentioning that the film will be set in the present day with a runtime of around 80 minutes. “I’m trying to find a new way to make it more accessible and take away the negative onus of what has been associated with organised religion,” said Scorsese.