There was a time when Peyton Reed was going to make the best superhero movie ever. He was attached to The Fantastic Four and he was going to make it a period piece, set in 1961. It's a great idea, so of course it never happened. Fox sort of took the concept for X-Men: First Class, but as much as I like that movie it didn't have the period touch that Reed showed off so nicely in the great Down With Love.
Now Reed is returning to the early 1960s with The Fifth Beatle, technically also a comic book movie! It's based on the best-selling painted graphic novel by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker, and it tells the story of Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager. There are a lot of people who have had 'The Fifth Beatle' moniker placed on them - Billy Preston, Pete Best, Murray the K - but only Brian Epstein earned the title. He discovered the band when they were playing the Cavern Club and he believed in them when record labels turned them down left and right. He guided the group to stardom, and then died alone in 1967 at the age of 32. Epstein's own life was complicated - a Jew in a part of England that wasn't particularly pro-semitic and gay at a time when that was simply not allowed, he is one of the great pop culture outsiders of all time.
I'm excited for Peyton to tell Brian's story; it's one that's been criminally neglected for years. While The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, Epstein still remains out (there is a 'Non-Performer' category). What could make The Fifth Beatle especially interesting is the fact that the production has the rights to use actual Beatles songs; that rarely happens, and it's going to add a whole layer to the film.
Shooting begins in 2014. I hope for exciting fancasting in the comments below - who can play John Lennon?