George Gershwin is one of those names that almost everybody knows, but so few of us (including myself) know very much about. He was a composer. He was responsible for a lot of Broadway plays. He wrote a lot of famous songs. That’s about all I know without looking him up.
Steven Spielberg apparently has an eye toward helping to alleviate our collective ignorance of Gershwin, who actually died of a brain tumor when he was only 38. Deadline Hollywood is reporting that it’s one of three projects that Spielberg has his sights on for Dreamworks, and that there’s actually someone already lined up to play Gershwin: Zachary Quinto, otherwise known as Spock 2.0 or Sylar.
I’m not sure, really, how interesting a Gershwin biopic might be — he’s most famous for creating a large body of work in a very short period of time (along with his brother, Ira Gerswhin, who wrote lyrics for his compositions). He did have a 10-year affair with another composer, Kay Swift (the first woman to complete an entire score for a musical), but how exciting is a heterosexual love affair between two people who sit at the piano all day? (“I’ll strike your keys if you strike mine, baby!”) I hope to God there’s something scurrilous going on here (there’s no controversy subheading under his Wikipedia entry), otherwise, we may be in for a dull biopic for those who aren’t particularly into Gershwin’s music (maybe Will Smith can jazz it up!).
I don’t even know if Quinto is a good choice for the role — I really don’t even know if he can act yet. He can look menacing or flash a dead stare convincingly, but I don’t know if he can pull of a performance adequate enough for a Spielberg movie, though apparently Dreamworks has already put him into accent and dialogue classes. Doug Wright (Quills) penned the script.
Quick: Name a famous Gerswhin composition. Rhapsody in Blue doesn’t count.