Today in “I can’t believe this hasn’t happened yet” news: a studio has optioned a biography about the late legendary actor Marlon Brando to become a biopic.
The biography to be adapted is The Way It’s Never Been Done Before from George Englund, a movie director, producer, and one of Brando’s best friends. Englund died earlier this year. Brian Oliver’s New Republic Pictures (Hacksaw Ridge, American Made) has optioned the biography with the intent of making a feature film biopic about Brando, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
There’s certainly a joke to be made about Hollywood’s penchant for making moves about itself but that doesn’t really apply in Brando’s case. Brando is synonymous with the film industry but his was the kind of talent and fame that would have been noteworthy in any industry. It is a bit of a headscratcher that it’s taken this long for the definitive Brando biopic to get moving.
Brando won two Oscars for his performances in On the Waterfront and The Godfather. He was nominated for six more. He was, by almost any measure, one of the most important arts and entertainment figures of the 20th century.
Just like many other important figures, he could list over to the “eccentric” side of the human spectrum. This includes famously showing up markedly overweight for a role on Apocalypse Now and being unable to remember his lines. Obviously his performance was still legendary. Hopefully any biopic will be able to broach those topics.
Englund befriended Brando in the early 1950s and would go on to direct him in the film The Ugly American. They remained close throughout their lives and Englund’s proximity to Brando should offer unprecedented access and content for the eventual film.
“George and Marlon’s friendship spanned five decades and covered all the ups and downs in the actor’s career and personal life,” Oliver told Hollywood Reporter. “It makes for both an epic portrayal of the greatest actor ever to grace the silver screen and an intimate story of two men with an almost brotherly bond.”