Martin Scorsese to revive Frank Sinatra biopic with Leonardo DiCaprio

<span>Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese at the Cannes film festival in 2023.</span><span>Photograph: Samir Hussein/WireImage</span>
Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese at the Cannes film festival in 2023.Photograph: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Martin Scorsese is reportedly reviving his dormant Frank Sinatra biopic, with regular collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role.

According to Variety, Scorsese is planning to start filming a Sinatra project directly after completing shooting on his film about Jesus, adapted from a book by Japanese writer Shūsaku Endō. Variety also suggested that DiCaprio will play Sinatra while Jennifer Lawrence will be cast as Ava Gardner, who was married to the singer between 1951 and 1957. However, Variety reports that Scorsese has not yet secured the approval of Sinatra’s daughter Tina, who controls her father’s music and image rights.

Scorsese has previously attempted to film Sinatra’s life, in a production announced in 2009 with backing from Hollywood studio Universal and DiCaprio rumoured to be Scorsese’s choice for the lead. The director then told the media in 2010 that he planned to cast Al Pacino and Robert De Niro as Sinatra and his fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin. Scorsese also outlined his vision for the film, which would have involved several actors playing the lead role. “We can’t go through the greatest hits of Sinatra’s life. We tried this already. Just can’t do it. So the other way to go is to have three or four different Sinatras. Younger. Older. Middle-aged. Very old. You cut back and forth in time – and you do it through the music.”

However, reports at the time also suggested that Tina Sinatra was not happy with Scorsese’s approach, especially his plan for a “hard-hitting” biography that would include the singer’s connections with organised crime. “Marty wants it to be hard-hitting and showcase the violent, sexually charged, hard-drinking Frank, but Tina wants to show the softer side of her dad and let the focus be on the music,” said an unnamed source.

Scorsese said in 2017 he had given up the idea, telling the Toronto Sun that Sinatra’s rights holders “won’t agree to it”. He added: “Certain things are very difficult for a family, and I totally understand. But, if they expect me to be doing it, they can’t hold back certain things. The problem is that the man was so complex. Everybody is so complex – but Sinatra in particular.”