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A Billy Joel biopic has just been green-lit, but, unfortunately, it seems that none of the Piano Man’s legendary hits will be included in the project.
Variety reports that the movie, called Piano Man, will focus on Billy’s early years, starting with when he was discovered at age 16 by his first manager, Irwin Mazur. The film will follow Billy as he performs in various bands in the ’60s, through to 1972, when a live recording of his song “Captain Jack” went viral on East Coast radio and led to him to sign a deal with Columbia Records.
However, a rep for Billy says that because the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer isn’t involved in the project, no rights to his music, life story, name or likeness will be granted.
So how will the movie be made? Variety reports that the studio has acquired the life rights of Mazur, who managed Billy from 1965 to 1972. Mazur will be an executive producer and Variety quotes him as saying the film will depict “the real-life events I witnessed first-hand.”
Adam Ripp, whose dad Artie Ripp signed Billy to his first solo recording deal and produced his debut album, Cold Spring Harbor, will also executive-produce the movie, in addition to writing and directing it.
In a statement, Adam says, “Billy Joel has been a part of my life since my father signed him to his record label when I was 4 years old…it’s been a dream of mine as a filmmaker to explore and celebrate the untold story of how Billy Joel became the Piano Man.”
In 2019, Billy told Billboard that if a biopic is ever made of his life, “I just hope they don’t get a short, fat, ugly guy to play me.”
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