In the centenary year of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, it seems that the iconic conductor, composer and pianist has once again re-emerged in the public consciousness. Two biopics about the life of Lenny seem to be in the works, with serious star power attached to both projects.

Bernstein. Photo © Arthur Umboh/DG 

A Jake Gyllenhaal-produced biopic titled The Americanwas announced in early May, with principal photography expected to commence later this year with the financial backing of Bron Studios. Cary Fukunaga is slated to direct, with a screenplay by Michael Mitnick adapted from Humphrey Burton’s biography Leonard Bernstein. Gyllenhaal will take up the baton as Bernstein, with the biopic charting the conductor’s life from the age of 25, when he first led the New York Philharmonic.

“Like many people, Leonard Bernstein found his way into my life and heart through West Side Story,” Gyllenhaal said in a statement. “But as I got older and started to learn about the scope of his work, I began to understand the extent of his unparalleled contribution and the debt of gratitude modern American culture owes him. As a man, Bernstein was a fascinating figure – full of...

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now