According to Variety, a Billy Joel biopic, with the working title of Piano Man is in the works. It will be scripted and directed by Adam Ripp. There is a catch, though. Joel is not involved in the project and will not grant rights to his name, likeness, life story, or music.
The biopic will follow Joel’s early years, “from being discovered by his first manager Irwin Mazur at age 16, to playing in a Long Island cover band in the 1960s, to his breakout performance in 1972 that captured the attention of Clive Davis.” Jaigantic, meanwhile, has instead acquired the rights to Mazur, who managed Joel from 1965 to 1972.
Joel fans will know that Adam Ripp is the son of Artie Ripp, who produced (and famously botched) Joel’s first solo album, 1971’s Cold Spring Harbor. Joel has publicly blamed the commercial failure of Cold Spring Harbor on Ripp, and after a falling out, Joel went from Ripp’s Family Productions to Columbia Records, where he became famous via Piano Man in 1973. According to Variety, the film’s music is “yet to be determined.”
“Billy Joel has been a part of my life since my father signed him to his record label when I was 4 years old,” Adam Ripp said in a statement. “His music is ingrained in my DNA and it’s been a dream of mine as a filmmaker to explore and celebrate the untold story of how Billy Joel became the Piano Man.”
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.