Legendary entertainer Billy Joel will receive the biopic treatment with Piano Man, which chronicles his early music career.
Produced by actor Michael Jai White’s Jaigantic Studios, Piano Man is written by Adam Ripp. The writer’s father Artie signed Joel to his first record deal. It follows the formative years of Joel’s music career from the perspective of his first manager Irwin Mazur. They first met when Joel was sixteen. The singer got his start performing with The Hassles at a nightclub owned by Mazur’s father.
“What a dream come true!” Mazur told Variety in a statement. “These are the real-life events I witnessed first-hand that shaped Billy from a keyboard player in the local Long Island band, The Hassles, into the iconic musician, singer-songwriter, and entertainer who thrills audiences around the world, today.”
Ripp then added: “Billy Joel has been a part of my life since my father signed him to his record label when I was 4 years old. His music is ingrained in my DNA and it’s been a dream of mine as a filmmaker to explore and celebrate the untold story of how Billy Joel became the Piano Man.”
However, Joel himself did not sign off on the project. His representatives explained that they granted no rights to his music and likeness. As a result, the producers acquired the rights to Mazur’s life. For this reason, he is the central character in the film. The producers did not reveal how they will approach music needs for the film.
“As a lifelong fan of Billy Joel, I am elated to be part of the team to produce his biopic. Billy Joel is the key figure on the Mount Rushmore of American Music,” said White.
Billy Joel Joins Music Artists Receiving Biopics
While Piano Man is Billy Joel’s first biopic, it joins a huge lineup of upcoming projects on the lives of musicians. After the success of Bohemian Rhapsody, which featured Rami Malek in his Oscar-winning role of Freddy Mercury, studios looked into the lives of a number of musicians for their next hit. Of course, just a few months after the former, Rocketman released to mostly good reviews. That film starred Taron Egerton as Elton John.
Additionally, this year brings the life of Elvis Presley to the big screen. Baz Luhrman’s Elvis stars Austin Butler in the title role. Butler also performs the King’s songs for the film. Interestingly, like Piano Man, Elvis follows the relationship between Presley and his manager Colonel Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks. Elvis hits theaters in June 24, 2022.