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The Fifth Beatle
Don E. Gee

From Deadline Hollywood and The Guardian UK: Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Milk, Silver Linings Playbook) is set to produce "The Fifth Beatle" documenting the life of The Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Production is set to begin in 2014. The biopic's screenplay is by Tony award-winner Vivek J Tiwary (Green Day's American Idiot, Mel Brooks' The Producers)

Epstein was the closeted gay Liverpudlian entrepreneur who brought the Fab Four to fame. Starting out in the music business by selling records from his father's appliance store in Liverpool, he heard The Beatles on his lunch break at the Cavern Club and relentlessly pursued a record deal with EMI.

Epstein said: "I was immediately struck by their music, their beat, and their sense of humor on stage and, even afterwards, when I met them, I was struck again by their personal charm. And it was there that, really, it all started."

There have been efforts to bring Epstein's story to the big screen - a biopic screenplay by Tony Gittelson floundered in 2009. The manager was played by David Angus in 1991's The Hours and Times, a fictional retelling of a holiday Epstein took with John Lennon (Ian Hart) in 1963. Hart also played Lennon in 1994's Backbeat, about the band's early days performing in Hamburg, in which Epstein was not a major character.

Neither film was able to use original Beatles recordings, with Backbeat famously wheeling on alternative rock musicians of the day to record covers of tracks by other artists that the band would have performed in Hamburg.

Four of the band's tunes were licensed for "Good Ol' Freda" directed by Ryan White. He required the approval of Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, plus the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison for the unprecedented move.

"The Fifth Beatle", with a title borrowed from Paul McCartney's moniker for Epstein, has stolen a march on every Beatles biopic that has gone before it.

See "The Fifth Beatle" movie trailer on BBC DOWNLOADS Video

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