Paul McCartney once claimed, “If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian.” He was talking about Brian Epstein, the Fab Four’s discoverer and manager from 1961 until his early death in 1967. Like many other famous people who died young, Epstein is finally being given his own biopic, Variety reports. Titled “A Life in the Day” -- a play on the title of the classic Beatles tune, "A Day in the Life" -- the project rests in the capable hands of producer David Permut (“Face/Off”) and screenwriter Tony Gittelson.
Permut, who is also working on biopics about Sam Kinison and John DeLorean, will try to get the rights to as many Beatles songs as possible for the film, but he says the focus will be on Epstein and the formation of the band, so a lot of famous tunes aren’t necessary. Still, the roles of John, Paul, George and Ringo will have to be significant. Maybe not big enough to warrant big stars portraying the iconic figures, but considering there’s never been a straight and comprehensive biopic about any of the actual Beatles, I’d love to see some familiar faces take on those roles.
The interesting thing about an Epstein biopic is that it does continue the idea that The Beatles were so huge they require a whole bunch of little biopics that may eventually all come together to cover the guys’ entire lives and careers. For example, this movie is like a sequel to 1994’s “Backbeat,” which concentrated on former Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe during the early days of the band.
There’s also “Birth of the Beatles,” which centered on the same period, “Chapter 27,” about the death of John Lennon and the made-for-TV movies “John and Yoko: A Love Story,” “Two of Us” and “The Linda McCartney Story” providing cinematic depictions of little snippets from the nearly 70 years of Beatle existence. Plus, there’s a new movie coming out in the UK this December about Lennon’s childhood titled “Nowhere Boy.”
And let’s not forget that the Beatles’ own films are now being remade, too. Just one so far, “Yellow Submarine,” though it’s doubtful anyone could find good reason to redo any of the others.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see how much “A Life in the Day” focuses on the Fab Four, since Epstein was so instrumental in making them famous. Not to mention the fact that his death was a big factor in the band’s breakup, according to Lennon. Expect to spend much of the film's running time immersed in the businessman’s personal conflicts, such as his drug and gambling addictions and his somewhat closeted homosexuality.
But the audience will probably be hungrier for scenes dealing with Epstein’s career with The Beatles, climaxing with his frustrating lack of influence on the band in the final year of his life and, of course, ending with his accidental Carbitral overdose.
Do you hope this biopic focuses mainly on Epstein’s time as The Beatles’ manager? Who do you think should play the Beatles, including the honorary Fifth member?