EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox and director Shawn Levy will turn the life of legendary music promoter Bill Graham into a feature film. The studio has acquired Bill Graham: My Life Inside Rock and Out, the autobiography he wrote with Robert Greenfield. Levy will produce through his 21 Laps banner. David Graham, Alex Graham and Robert Greenfield will be the executive producers.
Graham is best known for bringing the San Francisco music scene to prominence with his venues the Fillmore and Winterland, where he helped define an era of rock in the ’60s and beyond by breaking acts including the Grateful Dead, Santana, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane. His life story began in Europe, where he fled the Holocaust as a child before being raised in a foster home in New York. A scrappy, ambitious young man, Graham became a mercurial, charismatic figure on the rock scene, where he pioneered the promotion of rock concerts into major events. His close pals included such rock legends as the Who and the Rolling Stones, and he was central in mounting the American portion of Live Aid, among other music benefit concerts. He died in a helicopter accident in 1991 at the age of 60.
Levy hasn’t committed to a next film, but his 21 Laps is in the midst of a prolific year with the Netflix series Stranger Things; the Denis Villenueve-directed Story of Your Life, wrapped with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner for Paramount; the Ice Cube-Charlie Day starrer Fist Fight, wrapped at New Line; the John Hamburg-directed Fox comedy Why Him? in the works with Bryan Cranston and James Franco; and the Anna Kendrick starrer Table 19, wrapped at Searchlight.
Repping Graham’s estate and Greenfield are attorney Elliot Groffman of Carroll, Guido & Groffman, and IPG’s Brian Lipson.