Martin Scorsese’s Frank Sinatra biopic scrapped

Scorsese has been forced to shelve his Frank Sinatra biopic after resistance from the star's estate.

After almost eight years spent trying to get the project off the ground, Martin Scorsese has confirmed that his Frank Sinatra biopic has been shelved due to lack of approval from the star’s family.

“We can’t do it!” the Oscar-winning director told The Toronto Sun. “I think it is finally over. [The Sinatra estate] won’t agree to it.”

The script, penned by Field of Dreams director and screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson, is reported to have delved into some of darker aspects of Sinatra’s life, which proved to be a sticking point for the singer’s remaining family.


“Certain things are very difficult for a family, and I totally understand,” Scorsese said. “But if they expect me to be doing it, they can’t hold back certain things. The problem is that the man was so complex. Everybody is so complex – but Sinatra in particular.”

In a previous interview with ShortList, the director said that he wanted the film to be an unfettered portrait of the star.

“We can’t go through the greatest hits of Sinatra’s life,” he said at the time. “We tried this already. Just can’t do it. So the other way to go is to have three or four different Sinatras: younger, older, middle-aged, very old. You cut back and forth in time – and you do it through the music. … So that’s what we’re trying for. It’s very tricky.”

Leonardo DiCaprio was rumoured to be in the running to play Sinatra before the film was axed. The Oscar-winner will team up with the veteran director once more for his next film, The Devil in the White City, an adaption of Erik Larson’s 2003 best-selling novel.

Last month, Scorsese’s latest film Silence arrived in cinemas, starring Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. Watch the trailer below.