Photo: Ultimate Classic Rock
Michael Jai White’s Jaigantic Studios is set to produce the upcoming biopic about legendary musician Billy Joel titled Piano Man. However, Joel’s representative has stated that no rights in music, name, likeness, or life story will be granted to the studio.
The studio’s representative clarified that the story “focuses on the first stage of Mr. Joel’s career; therefore, our music needs are still being determined.”
Variety reported that the film written and directed by Adam Ripp (Gambit, Devil’s Whisper) would instead portray the early years of Joel’s career, starting from being discovered by Irwin Mazur up to his breakthrough performance in 1972.
Jaigantic acquired rights to Mazur’s story. Mazur represented Joel from 1970 until 1972, just a year before Piano Man was released. Mazur also managed The Hassles, a band that Joel briefly played for as a teenager.
Ripp’s father, Artie Ripp, also signed Joel to his first record deal as a solo artist. Artie also produced Cold Spring Harbor, Joel’s debut album.
Director-writer Ripp explained to EW, “If Billy Joel didn’t have Irwin Mazur, Elizabeth Weber, and Artie Ripp, the world would not have the Piano Man. And who the hell wants to live in a world without the Piano Man. Piano Man will feature some of the very best music Billy Joel performed and recorded from 1966 to 1972.”
Joel has sold over 160 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He also has five Grammy awards and 23 Grammy nominees. This year, Joel is booked for several stadium concerts and appearances at Madison Square Garden.
White, Mayne Berke, Donovan de Boer, Mazur, and Ripp have been announced to produce Piano Man, but no other news regarding casting and pre-production has been released.