Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage will produce and direct Jack and Lem, a feature film chronicling the thirty-year friendship between John F. Kennedy and Kirk Lemoyne “Lem” Billings. Screenwriter David Scearce (A Single Man) will adapt David Pitts’ book Jack and Lem: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship.
Grandage, director of current Broadway hit Frozen and winner of the 2010 Tony for his direction of John Logan’s Red, will produce Jack and Lem under his production company Michael Grandage Company, alongside producers Andrew Zoppa and Alex Zoppa.
“The moment I read about Jack and Lem I knew it was a story I wanted to tell,” said Grandage, whose current West End re-staging of Red, starring Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch, will be filmed by Trafalgar Releasing for screenings across the UK and North America in November.
Continued the director, “It’s a side of an endlessly fascinating President the world has yet to see. But even more, a story of an incredible man that up until now has been kept in the shadows. I’m excited to explore this unique friendship that helped change the world.”
Jack and Lem will be Grandage’s second feature film. His first was 2016’s Max Perkins biopic Genius, written by Logan from a book by A. Scott Berg and starring Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.
Casting for Jack and Lem was not announced.
The logline for Jack and Lem: Despite growing up on opposite sides of the tracks, Kennedy and Billings met at prep school and remained best friends until the Dallas gunfire that ended Kennedy’s life. Remarkably, Lem was a gay man at a time when homosexuality was illegal. Kennedy maintained their close bond despite warnings that it would derail his political career. Lem became a fixture in the Kennedy White House (he even had his own bedroom), and was the moral compass for the President during one of the most tumultuous times in American History.
In addition to Frozen, Grandage’s current stage productions include the West End revival of Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore starring Aidan Turner. The limited engagement at the Noël Coward Theatre began June 23 and closes September 8.
In addition to A Single Man, screenwriter Scearce wrote the recent Measure of a Man starring Luke Wilson, Judy Greer and Donald Sutherland.
Grandage is repped by CAA, and Scearce by ICM and attorney Richard Thompson.