Paramount Pictures has chosen a new director to take the helm of a Bee Gees biopic. Kenneth Branagh had been set to direct until late last year, when he was forced to depart the project due to scheduling issues (part of it was a lengthy awards campaign for Belfast, which paid off – he won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay).
John Carney, known for acclaimed music-driven films Sing Street, Begin Again, and Once, is now attached to direct the untitled film. Set to write the screenplay is John Logan, the three-time Oscar-nominated writer whose credits include Gladiator, Hugo, and Skyfall.
Deadline broke the news, reporting that Barry Gibb – one of the three original Bee Gees members and sole survivor of the group following the deaths of his young brothers, fraternal twins Robin and Maurice – is attached as executive producer and will have a hand in the film’s narrative.
The Gibb brothers were born on the Isle of Man and lived in Manchester, England until the late ’50s. In 1954, they formed a rock and roll group called the Rattlesnakes, which didn’t quite hit the big time. It wasn’t until the family moved to Australia in 1958 that their music dreams found a trajectory. They performed during intervals at the Redcliffe Speedway in 1960, where they caught the attention of Brisbane radio-presenter jockey Bill Gates. It would be Gates who would change the group’s name to the “BGs” (which would go on to be the “Bee Gees”), in reference to the fact that he, speedway promoter and driver Bill Goode, and Barry Gibb all shared the same initials.
Following a hit in Australia with “Spicks and Specks”, the brothers returned to the UK in 1967. Over the next few years, their fame and success grew, and the group went through their first breakup in 1969 until 1970. Fast forward to 1976: the Bee Gees agreed to work on the soundtrack for a little film known as Saturday Night Fever. The rest, as they say, is history. The group’s popularity skyrocketed and they became one the best-selling music artists of all time, with over 220 million records sold worldwide.
Maurice Gibb died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2003. Robin Gibb died of liver and kidney failure in 2012.