EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Netflix has nabbed a high-profile drama about music and screen icon Frank Sinatra. The streamer has closed a series development deal for the project, which hails from Oscar winner Bill Condon, Lionsgate Television, Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment and Frank Sinatra Enterprises. The series, which will feature Frank Sinatra’s music and performances, is executive produced by his daughter, Tina Sinatra.
Condon (Gods and Monsters, Twilight) is set to write and direct the pilot and serve as showrunner on the project, described as the definitive bio-series on the iconic singer, actor, producer and quintessential celebrity of 20th Century America. Condon is executive producing alongside his producing partner Greg Yolen. Tina Sinatra and Bob Finkelstein are executive producing via Frank Sinatra Enterprises; Michele Anthony, Bruce Resnikoff and David Blackman via Polygram, UMG’s film and television production and development division; with Jack Morrissey also an EP.
The marquee series, which was recently taken out to the premium marketplace, drawing strong interest and multiple bids, stems from the longstanding relationship between Lionsgate and UMG, which owns and/or distributes the vast majority of the Frank Sinatra catalogue. The companies previously had a first-look TV deal.
Sinatra’s life has it all: humble beginnings as the child of Italian immigrants in New Jersey; a remarkable music and acting career that had its ups and downs, a famous posse, the Rat Pack; alleged Mafia ties investigated by the FBI; as well as a love life marked by a string of relationships with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars like Ava Gardner, Mia Farrow, Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and Angie Dickinson.
The “New York, New York” crooner was previously the subject of the 1992 miniseries Sinatra, in which he was played by Philip Casnoff, with Marcia Gay Harden as Gardner, Gina Gershon as Nancy Barbato Sinatra and Olympia Dukakis as Dolly Sinatra. There also had been a long-gestating feature biopic in the works with Martin Scorsese at the helm, which ultimately didn’t take flight after objections from the Sinatra family.
Condon, an Oscar winner for writing Gods and Monsters, has written three musical features, Chicago, which earned him an Oscar nomination, Dreamgirls, which he also directed, and global phenom The Greatest Showman. It was recently announced that Condon will be directing a film adaptation of the musical Guys and Dolls, which was previously made into a 1955 movie starring Sinatra and Marlon Brando. He is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Alexander, Lawrence, Frumes & Labowitz.
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