5 Upcoming Biopics to Look Forward To
You could blame it on The King’s Speech; you could blame it on The Social Network, but as soon as biopics started getting attention at the box office as well as awards season, studios rushed to put similar projects in production. Now we have King George’s granddaughter-in-law and Mark Zuckerberg’s inspiration hitting theaters with Diana and Jobs, but that’s not all. The Freddie Mercury biopic may have lost its leading man, but Lovelace is set to hit theaters next weekend.
History, recent or long past, is littered with inspirational figures and inspirational stories ready to be mined for rousing, crowd-pleasing biopics – here are five upcoming ones to look forward to.
One of many films documenting the African-American civil rights movement, The Butler is the quiet story of a man pushed to the sidelines during his life but worthy of the spotlight in retrospect. Cecil Gaines (Forest Whittaker) was the White House’s butler between 1952 to 1986, witnessing various world-altering events from the belly of the beast while seemingly only quietly looking on. He worked for no less than eight presidents, each played by huge Hollywood stars such as Robin Williams, John Cusack and Alan Rickman. It hits theaters on August 16th.
Jobs is one of the more controversial entries on this list, if not only for the casting of Ashton Kutcher as technology and business genius Steve Jobs, founder of Apple. It’s existence is no doubt inspired by the success of Zuckerberg biopic The Social Network in 2010 but, while that film could only choose a small segment of time to document, Jobs has the benefit of decades to explore. No matter how you feel about Apple, and the reverence present in the trailer, no one can really refute that it’s a story worth telling. It hits theaters on August 16th.
Our obsession with the Royals has extended to the big screen, with little baby George’s late grandmother, Diana (Naomi Watts), getting her own biopic later this year. It’s an odd one, this, since, while it’s an interesting story that has a lot of resonance in this age of celebrity culture, my overwhelming feeling is that there’s not a lot about Diana’s story that we haven’t already heard. No matter what the trailer attests (“the legend isn’t always the whole story”), maybe this time the whole story has made the legend – making it no less interesting. It hits theaters in the UK on September 20th.
Marking Ron Howard’s return to the director’s char, Rush is the story of Formula 1 racer James Hunt, portrayed here by Aussie actor (and part-time Norse God) Chris Hemsworth, who was one half of an infamous rivalry with fellow driver Niki Lauda. With the danger of the sport, death-defying stunts, vintage cars and togs along with a big competition to drive towards, this has all of the ingredients of a classic sports movie. It hits theaters on September 27th.
Although Nelson Mandela is still alive, it’s a bit of a travesty that Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is the first high-profile biopic that attempts to chart so much of his troubled, yet inspirational, life (2007’s Goodbye Bafana charted a small number of years from a different perspective). With a strong cast that includes Idris Elba in the titular role, it’s a biographer’s wet dream and, being based on the former South African President’s personal words written in 1994, it’ll hopefully be hard to go wrong with the account of historical events and the man’s own personal life. It hits theaters November 29th.