Reed’s past feature films include “Yes Man,” “The Break Up” and “Down with Love,” the latter set in a similar ’60s time period as “The Fifth Beatle.” “Fifth Beatle” graphic novel author and theater producer Vivek Tiwary wrote the screenplay, and will produce the adaptation with Bruce Cohen, an Oscar winner for 1999’s “American Beauty.”
“The Fifth Beatle,” illustrated by Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker, tells the story of Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who guided the band from their early days but died at age 32, and struggled living life as a closeted gay man in the 1960s. The book was released by Dark Horse Comics last month to widespread praise.
“From the moment I read Vivek’s graphic novel, I knew I wanted to be the person to bring Brian’s story to the big screen,” Reed said in a statement. “I’m a lifelong Beatles fan, obviously, but it’s Brian’s fascinating life that really blew me away and drew me to this project. He’s the ultimate outsider who, against all odds, became the ultimate insider. He was responsible for shepherding the most popular artistic expression of ‘love’ in the history of modern culture, and yet he wasn’t allowed to express his own love during that time.”
In a September interview with Comic Book Resources, Tiwary discussed the film adaptation, calling it an “underdog story.”
“We’re adapting this into a film, and when I talk about that project, I say that it’s a music biopic, but it’s less ‘Ray’ or ‘Walk The Line’ and more ‘Billy Elliot’ or ‘Rocky,'” the writer said. “And much like those movies, in that you don’t need to be a fan of ballet or boxing to enjoy those stories, you don’t need to be a Beatles fan to be inspired by the Brian Epstein story. It’s an uplifting story for anyone who ever believed in a dream or dared to dream. That’s all of us.”
Production is scheduled to begin next year, according to Deadline, with the next step in the process finding an actor to play the lead role of Brian Epstein.