The news that Dave Franco will be playing Vanilla Ice in an upcoming film about the 90s icon and his rise to fame in To the Extreme solidifies our hunch that this is the age of the iconic biopic.
While we’ve all been in isolation, mega movie stars have signed on to play some of the world’s most famous people. From Franco playing the Ice Ice Baby singer to Jamie Foxx bulking up to play Mike Tyson and Austin Butler starring in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, it looks like the film scape of 2021/2 and beyond is set to be a lesson in history.
We take a look at all of the stories that are coming to life in the form of a biopic.
To the Extreme — the Vanilla Ice Biopic
Dave Franco is set to “rock a mic like a vandal”, playing Vanilla Ice a.k.a Rob Van Winkle in To the Extreme — a biopic about 90s icon.
During an interview with Insider, he confirmed the film had been “in development for a while but we are inching closer and closer to preproduction.”
News of the movie surfaced in 2019 when the title of the film appeared in trade Production Weekly, alongside the logline: “From a high school dropout selling cars in Dallas to having the first hip-hop single to top the Billboard charts with Ice Ice Baby, a young Vanilla Ice struggles with stardom, extortion attempts, and selling out as he makes music history.”
Franco said that he wanted the project to be like his The Disaster Artist — a film he made with brother, James Franco about Tommy Wiseau’s The Room.
“With that movie, people expected us to make a broad comedy where we make fun of Tommy Wiseau, but the more real we played it, the funnier and heartfelt it was — that’s the tone we want for this one as well,” he said.
Franco, has also spent time chatting to Van Winkle during the pandemic.
“Rob is such a sweet and intelligent guy and he’s been super helpful in the process of getting all the details correct and making us privy to information the public doesn’t know,” Franco said. “Just talking to him I can’t help but think about the rabbit holes I’m going to go down to get ready for the role,” he said during the interview.
The film’s name is a nod to Vanilla Ice’s 1990s album which featured both Ice Ice Baby and Play that Funky Music — one that spent 16 weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 15 million copies worldwide.
Elvis — The Elvis Presley Biopic
The biographical film will follow the career of the late ‘King of Rock and Roll’, Elvis Presley, helmed by Australian writer and director, Baz Luhrmann.
It will also focus on the complex dynamic between Elvis (played by Austin Butler) and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), over the space of twenty years “against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and the loss of innocence in America.”
Luhrmann is partnering with his wife, Catherine Martin — who also worked with him on The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge.
Butler, whose most recent outing was in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, was the “perfect” choice for the role and in an interview with Deadline, he said:
“I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist,” he told the publication.
“I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.”
The film will also star Australian newcomer Olivia DeJonge (Netflix’ The Society) as Priscilla Presley (the role will no doubt skyrocket her to instant stardom) and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rufus Sewell as Elvis’ parents, Vernon and Gladys Presley.
According to Variety, the film is set to be released in October 2021 — however, due to the global coronavirus pandemic, this may have changed.
The Untitled Mike Tyson Biopic
Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx has confirmed that he will play Mike Tyson in an upcoming biopic about the life of the American former world-champion boxer.
Foxx will play the former “baddest man on the planet” and the film will be centred around the life of Tyson, an American former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005.
Tyson reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title, at just over 20 years old.
In an Instagram Live session with film producer Mark Birnbaum (Stop the Presses), Foxx said that “doing biographies is a tough thing.”
“Sometimes it takes 20 years to get it done but we officially got the real ball rolling,” he said. “I can’t wait to show people what it is.”
“I saw him at the height of his career, and then when things got bad and bumpy I also saw him as well. So what I’m excited about the movie is to show those moments,” he added.
According to the 52-year-old, the film won’t shy away from the true grit of Tyson’s past.
“That’s the person that we want to show,” Foxx said.
“We want to show everybody evolves. Everybody comes from a good or bad place and I think when we lay the layers on Mike Tyson in this story, I think everybody from young and old will be able to understand this man’s journey and the way we’ll place it.”
So far, Foxx is the only actor to be linked to the film.
The Untitled Hulk Hogan Biopic
Netflix is slated to release an untitled biopic based on WWE star, Hulk Hogan a.k.a Terry Gene Bollea.
Australian actor, Chris Hemsworth, is set to star in the “insanely physical” role with Todd Phillips (Joker) at the helm.
In an interview with Total Film, Hemsworth said that “as you can imagine, the preparation for the role will be insanely physical.”
“I will have to put on more size than I ever have before, even more than I put on for Thor.”
The role will also embody a distinct accent, as well as “the physicality and the attitude” of Hogan.
“I will also have to do a deep dive into the rabbit hole of the wrestling world, which I’m really looking forward to doing.”
The film is currently still in development, however, will be based on the rise of Hogan and his wrestling career which has spanned over four decades.
Hogan began wrestling in the 1970s and became a household name in the 80s after signing with the WWF — now known as the WWE. Since then, he has appeared in numerous films including Rocky III.
There is no official release date as of yet, however, it’s looking likely to be the end of 2021/2022.