Billy Ray will script the film, but director Martin Scorsese has yet to cast Sinatra

Martin Scorsese’s long-promised movie about the life of Frank Sinatra now has a new writer.

According to Deadline, screenwriter Billy Ray has been hired to script the biopic, which was first announced in 2009. Field Of Dreams writer Phil Alden Robinson had originally been attached to the project.

Ray co-wrote the screenplay for this year (2012)’s big screen adaptation of The Hunger Games and also has writing credits on Flightplan, Volcano and State Of Play. His upcoming screenwriting assignments include the 24 movie and an untitled project with Lost creator JJ Abrams.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp have both been linked to the title role, while Sinatra’s daughter Tina, one of the project’s producers, is said to favour the casting of George Clooney. However, Scorsese has previously earmarked Al Pacino for the part. Discussing the biopic back in 2010, he explained: “I’m yet to spot the actor who can bring back Frank Sinatra alive on screen. My choice is Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro as Dean Martin.”

Scorsese is currently shooting The Wolf Of Wall Street, a crime drama starring DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey and The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin. The film is scheduled for release next year (2013). However, Scorsese has yet to confirm his follow-up project, prompting speculation that he could finally be planning to bring the Sinatra biopic into production.