A Marlon Brando Biopic Is In The Works
George Englund was a rather idiosyncratic producer during the '60s and '70s - having helped deliver weirdo treats like Zachariah ('71) - which might explain why he was Brando's closest friend from the mid-1950s until the actor's death in 2004. The two were working on their own unusual wavelengths, trying to push the art they loved forward with naked emotion and raw performances.
Now, Englund's memoir, The Way It's Never Been Done Before, has been optioned by New Republic Pictures as the basis for a potential Brando biopic. What's most interesting about this is the fact that Englund's portrait of the towering performer is loving, but also not necessarily the kindest rememberance. It paints Brando as a man who was driven by his own demons, and suspicious of nearly everyone around him. Englund's Brando felt like he was surrounded by enemies at all times, and even victimized his own children with a relentless need to control their lives.
Englund's writing has detailed his own run-ins with Brando's worst behavior (in his second Brando memoir The Naked Actor). In 1990, Brando persuaded the author to act as his literary agent and sell his autobiography, but refused to pay him the usual agent's commission of 10%, instead whittling it down to 5%, despite the fact that Englund earned him a $5 million advance. Brando was a creature of unmitigated self-interest, and it even created a rift in their friendship - between 1993 and 2000 - after a joint venture to bottle Tahitian rainwater fell through, because the legend allegedly expected his buddy to do all the work while he sat back and got paid.
But in the end, Englund still loved this man like a God, having cultivated a relationship that was tumultuous yet tender. Hopefully, this can be the basis for a truthful biopic - though I wouldn't hold your breath regarding a confirmation/denial of alleged sexual misconduct on the set of Last Tango In Paris ('72) - instead of just another moment of idolatry on Hollywood's part for the late acting great.