We’re pleased to announce that fans can now get a front row seat to the legendary performance tribute, Concert for George, with a special theatrical showing of the GRAMMY® -winning film. Concert for George comes to Vue Cinemas across the U.K. for a special limited run for one-night-only on Tuesday, April 17.
Production on the Sonar Entertainment series, based on the graphic novel by Vivek J. Tivary, is still months off and details as to where it will shoot are scant, but Jenna Santoianni, Sonar’s executive VP of television series and a “Fifth Beatle” executive producer, offered a glimpse at plans for the limited series. Sonar developed the property and set it up at Bravo last month.
“I think Vivek has done an amazing job in adapting his graphic novel to the television script,” Santoianni tells Variety. “And from the script, people are going to get the true life story of Brian Epstein and really feel that he was brilliant yet was a bit of a tortured dreamer and get the early look at Brian Epstein’s discovering the band in the Cavern Club in Liverpool and get a sense of how he both nurtured and protected them, and really guided their careers to worldwide success. We’re going to explore that he was a gay Jewish man in 1960s England, which wasn’t a popular thing to be at that time considering that homosexuality was a felony and that he’s an outsider who really struggled to overcome a lot of odds. And at the same time we’re seeing Brian Epstein overcome his own personal struggles, we’re seeing the Fab Four rise to fame really because of the potential he saw in them.”
The project is also notable for having secured rights to the music of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Santoianni said she couldn’t reveal which songs would be used yet, though “they’re very related to the story and the music is going to be a very organic part of the storytelling. I think what Vivek said in securing those music rights is very special and those were not easy to get.”
Santoianni said television was a good fit for “Fifth Beatle” because it allows for a longer storytelling format. The interest in Epstein’s story is a sign of how much the market for television content has expanded.
“There are a lot of subject areas and formats that used to be considered not suitable for television or that you couldn’t make,” she said. “And part of that was that the budgets weren’t there. And the wealth of channels and programmers that we have today weren’t there. Programmers would say, ‘You couldn’t do period pieces. You couldn’t do things that had a ton of music involved or production numbers. Audiences wanted to see stories about America.”But things have changed. “The beauty of television is that we don’t have to resolve our characters’ issues or stories in a two-hour movie,” she said. “We get to embrace our characters for their flaws and for their personalities and spend a lot of time with them. And we don’t have to say goodbye to them after two hours.”
The Epstein biopic series was a natural attraction for a longtime Beatles fan who says she was instilled with love of their music by her parents. “The Beatles mean a lot to me,” Santoianni said. “I grew up in Los Angeles listening on the weekends to (radio program) “Breakfast With the Beatles.”
She looks at the entire project as a real accomplishment. “To be able to help (Vivek) take the graphic novel and sell it as a television show is really special and meaningful,” Santoianni said. “It’s a great honor to be able to work with someone on adapting their own work. And it’s been a really great and charmed experience. This is one of the most beautiful graphic novels I’ve even seen.”
On the occasion of Klaus Voormann’s 80th birthday there will be a limited deluxe edition of “IT STARTED IN HAMBURG”. We call it the »Life Achievement Edition«. An unlimited standard edition will be also available.
The Liverpudlian who put the Beatles in suits, landed them a record deal with Parlophone, and brought to them to “The Ed Sullivan Show” is getting the biopic treatment from Bravo.
Bravo is developing a limited series based on the life of Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager who helped steer them to “the toppermost of the poppermost” from the early 1960s until his death in August 1967 at the age of 32. Produced by Universal Cable Productions and Sonar Entertainment, the project is based on “The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story,” the Dark Horse Comics graphic novel penned by Vivek J. Tiwary with art by Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker. Tiwary will pen the series adaptation and serve as executive producer along with Leopoldo Gout. Bravo said the project has secured access to the Lennon-McCartney song catalog for use in the series.
Epstein is an enigmatic figure in the history of the legendary band. He struggled with internal and external demons and discrimination as a Jewish, closeted gay man living at a time when homosexuality was a felony in Britain. Epstein famously became interested in the local Liverpool band when patrons of his family’s music store began asking for a recording of “My Bonnie” that the Beatles cut with singer Tony Sheridan during one of the band’s stints playing clubs in Hamburg. As the legend goes, Epstein went to see four leather-clad lads — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best (before Ringo Starr took over on drums) — at Liverpool’s Cavern Club and was impressed by their sound and the crowd’s enthusiasm. Without any prior experience in artist management, Epstein signed the band.
History has judged Epstein kindly for ignoring the assertion of a London record company executive that “groups with guitars are on the way out” while he was shopping a Beatles demo reel to land a recording contract. He finally got his “yes” from producer George Martin of EMI’s Parlophone imprint in 1962. Within months, Beatlemania ensued.
Epstein published a memoir, “A Cellarful of Noise,” in 1964. But his role as manager diminished after the band opted to end its grueling schedule of concert tours in 1966. By many historical accounts, Epstein was depressed at the time of his death and there has long been speculation that the overdose was not accidental. His death came about two months after the release of the Beatles’ landmark album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
France’s biggest rock star Johnny Hallyday has died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 74.
The singer sold about 100 million records and starred in a number of films in a career that began in 1960.
Johnny Hallyday met The Beatles ,here with Paul. Johnny recorded French language versions of some of the Beatles hits.
He was made a Chevalier of the Legion D’Honneur by President Jacques Chirac in 1997.
The French simply called him “Our Johnny”. However, outside the Francophone zone, Hallyday was virtually unknown.
In a statement, his wife Laeticia said: “Johnny Hallyday has left us. I write these words without believing them. But yet, it’s true. My man is no longer with us.”He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with courage and dignity.”
Paul and Johnny Hallyday in 2012, as they were both rehearsing with their respective touring bands in California.
Hallyday, whose real name was Jean-Philippe Smet, decided he wanted to be a singer after seeing Elvis Presley on screen in 1957. Hallyday was nicknamed the “French Presley” by his numerous fans.
His children, Laura and David, wrote a joint statement, saying: “Today we lost our father,” and thanking fans for the outpouring of support.”Our pain is immense,” they said.
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