Listen, we’re looking forward to Aline as much as the next website, since an unlicensed biopic about Celine Dion starring a 57-year-old woman who plays not-Celine Dion as a child and as an adult is phenomenal, but that doesn’t mean every biopic can get away with not asking for permission from the people involved. In fact, making sure you can get approval from your subject and/or their family should probably be the first step when it comes to making a biopic, and if you can’t get that, maybe don’t do it? Maybe think of a different story to tell? Maybe don’t just push ahead and assume that everything will work out just fine? It would be like making a movie about fire trucks without making sure you’re allowed to use the color red. It’s kind of crucial to the whole thing!
Anyway, earlier this week—as in yesterday—Yasiin Bey (who used to perform under the name Mos Def) signed on to star in a biopic about legendary jazz musician Thelonious Monk. This was notable because Bey doesn’t really act much anymore (Be Kind Rewind and his run on Dexter were a decade ago) and this would’ve been a big comeback, but now it looks like we’ll have to wait even longer to see him in what could’ve been a major role. As he explained on Instagram this morning, he has decided to drop out of the project after realizing that the film is unauthorized and does not have the approval of Thelonious Monk’s estate (he even says that he was led to believe that the film was being made with the family’s involvement).
T.S. Monk, Thelonious Monk’s son, goes even further: In a statement to Pitchfork, he said, “I hate the script and I control the music in Thelonious’ catalog,” adding, “There is no involvement by anyone in the Monk family with this project, and we actually condemn the effort.” According to Variety, the moviecomes from Jupiter Rising Film and was based on a script by Peter Lord Moreland that would’ve focused on Monk’s “struggles for musical success, mental illness, and the spiritual love triangle between his wife Nellie and one of the world’s richest women, Nica Rothschild.”