Why Martin Scorsese Has Given Up On Doing A Frank Sinatra Biopic

Frank Sinatra

Martin Scorsese has been one of Hollywood's most prolific directors for over four decades, so needless to say the man is picky about what movies he'll direct. While Scorsese has kept busy in recent years with stories like Hugo and The Wolf of Wall Street, he's also had several projects on the back burner. One of the those was helming a biopic about crooner/actor Frank Sinatra, one of the 20th century's most famous figures. Unfortunately for Scorsese, that biopic has been scrapped.

While plugging his new movie Silence, Martin Scorsese informed The Toronto Sun that his Frank Sinatra biopic isn't happening anymore due to disagreements with the Sinatra family. As he put it:

We can't do it! I think it is finally over. They (remaining members of the Sinatra clan) won't agree to it. Open it up again and I'm there!

Martin Scorsese first announced he would be directing a Frank Sinatra biopic back in 2009, and in the years following it went through numerous changes, including at one time tapping Billy Ray to handle writing duties. Eight years later, the movie won't be moving forward, and while Scorsese didn't delve into specifics, he implied that the reason it's not happening is because members of the Sinatra family didn't want to see the singer shown in a bad light. The director said:

Certain things are very difficult for a family, and I totally understand. 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.

As an entertainer, Frank Sinatra will always be best known as a singer first, actor second. In the former category, he churned out hits like "My Way" and "New York, New York" (not to mention he was one of the main Rat Pack performers), while in the latter category, he made a name for himself starring in movies like Ocean's 11 and From Here to Eternity. Still, the man's life wasn't perfect. Whether it his many romantic relationships, his bouts with depression or his alleged organized crime ties, there were enough dark corners that a biopic would have needed to delve into. While we don't know precisely how this project fell apart behind the scenes, if Scorsese is to be believed, the remaining Sinatra family members wanted the performer's life to be handled with kid gloves. Scorsese, wanting to fully capture Sinatra's complexity within a two-three hour time frame, wasn't willing to compromise on that front, and the rest is history.

Even though the Frank Sinatra biopic didn't work out, Martin Scorsese has plenty of stories to keep moviegoers entertained in the coming years. Silence, which stars Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield, is currently playing in theaters, and The Irishman and Devil in the White City are being worked on right now.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.