ByJack Mitchell, writer at
I'm a student at the University of Sussex, studying Drama and Film. I'm a huge cinephile, watching and discussing a wide variety of cinema
Jack Mitchell

Biopics are the perfect Hollywood fuel. Whilst there are often moments of writer's block or creative obstruction within the film community, biopics offer a surefire well of inspiration. They are a readymade story for a readymade audience. While quality isn't always assured, there's often a great foundation to build upon.

It's little wonder then that these films do well at awards season, and no wonder so many are produced. Although there are so many , there's a noticeable lack of movies about undisputed director greats. So what better way to honor cinematic icons than with the movie of their life? Let's take a look at those filmmakers who deserve to have their stories told on the silver screen.

Stanley Kubrick

Why this movie should be made: Kubrick is arguably one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and it would only be fitting to honor the legend. With such a fascinating life and colorful career, this is one movie that is begging to be made.

What this could be about: Kubrick's transition from a promising photographer to a budget filmmaker to an Oscar winner and finally a revolutionary. A movie of his life could examine his battle for independence from the big film studios who wanted to dilute his vision, moving on to the controversy caused by his bold and forward-thinking films including Lolita and A Clockwork Orange, and lastly looking at the impact he's had during his life and since his death. This should be a celebration of 's influence as a once-in-a-lifetime artist who was unrestrained and operated far from the norm.

Who could play Kubrick: The sublime Joaquin Phoenix is not too dissimilar to Kubrick in appearance. He has the range to depict this complex, fascinating man.

Likelihood of being made: Very high. Kubrick is a legend and it hasn't quite been 20 years since his death. Surely it's only a matter of time before we see this.

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski, behind the scenes, 'Venus in Furs.'
Roman Polanski, behind the scenes, 'Venus in Furs.'

Why this movie should be made: Polanski is a controversial figure to be sure. The masterful director has led an intriguing life, filled with tragedy and outrage. There's a lot of meat on the Polanski bones, and with the story still unravelling there could be more to chew on.

What this could be about: This would largely be about Polanski's turbulent personal life, but could also involve aspects of his incredible directorial career, which has included such award-winning fare as The Pianist and occult classic Rosemary's Baby. It could examine his early life, surviving Nazi occupation in his native Poland during WWII; the 1969 murder of his then-pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, at the hands of the Manson Family; and how he dealt with the aftermath, his grief and the influence this crime had on his later work.

The biopic could also examine the case of sexual abuse involving a then-13-year-old girl in the '70s, and how Polanski's public perception changed through this case and his fleeing the US to escape a possible prison sentence.

Who could play Polanski: The matter of Polanski's historic sexual abuse case is one that splits many, with some people defending him and others strongly condemning his actions. However, while it's difficult to choose a specific actor, it would be refreshing to see an unfamiliar face take on this complex role. British actor Simon McBurney, who has appeared in The Theory of Everything and Allied, certainly looks enough like Polanski to fit the bill.

Likelihood of being made: There have been a few minor attempts at Polanski biopics, but given how dramatic and enigmatic Polanski's life has been and how turbulent it continues to be, it seems inevitable that after the 83-year-old eventually passes, a revealing biopic will be made. There's so much to delve into and therefore would offer a strange filmic opportunity too good to pass up.

Sergei Eisenstein

Why this film should be made: Soviet film director Eisenstein pioneered montage in film. While the idea was not his, it was his 1920s films like Strike and Battleship Potemkin that popularized the technique, changing the course of cinematic history forever. His clashes with Communist leader Joseph Stalin and role as a Russian propagandist before and during WWII would also make for a riveting story.

What this could be about: This film should primarily celebrate Eisenstein's work. In a world flooded with flashy blockbusters, it's easy to take for granted things like editing and sound, but we must remember that film had to start somewhere. Directors like Georges Méliès and Eisenstein forever changed the course of cinema and, aside from academic circles, they rarely get the praise they deserve.

Without Eisenstein some quintessential cinema wouldn't have been made and action cinema would have been severely hindered. His revolutionary editing has impacted cinema on an unprecedented scale. Also, the celebration of this pivotal cinematic figure should take a look at his role as a Russian propagandist, looking at how his films influenced Russian history and opinions.

Who could play Eisenstein: If this was to be a Hollywood biopic, which it wouldn't have to be by any means, then it would have to be an actor with the caliber to not turn this Russian legend into a Bolshevik caricature. In appearance alone, John C. Reilly could arguably do the filmmaker justice, and he has enough talent to pull off a respectful and dignified performance, as his appearances in the likes of We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Aviator illustrate.

Likelihood of being made: Eisenstein, despite his significance, didn't make cinema that could be considered viable for today's typical audience. His films, despite their mastery, tend to be watched for their historic significance as opposed to their enjoyment factor. So this one probably isn't very likely.

Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola, behind the scenes, 'Somewhere.'
Sofia Coppola, behind the scenes, 'Somewhere.'

Why this film should be made: Sofia Coppola has defied the odds. When your father, Francis Ford Coppola, is arguably the best to ever live, many would call it unwise to try to follow in his footsteps. And yet Sofia Coppola successfully forged her own wonderful, unique directorial path. It would be intriguing to see how she came to be the great director she is today.

What this could be about: This should firstly look at Coppola's adoration of her father and her awe at his productions, using this to justify her filmic trajectory. It should then look at her humiliating performance in The Godfather Part III and the knock-on effect the castigation had on her confidence at such a tender age.

From then on the biopic should demonstrate Coppola's determination to build a successful career on the back of her humiliation, celebrating her triumph with Lost in Translation and those jubilations still to come. Much is still to happen in Coppola's life and career, but she is already a director worth celebrating. She is an inspiration, becoming only the second female to win Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for her film The Beguiled, moving far beyond being just the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola.

Who could play Coppola: Considering how young she is, this film perhaps won't be made for decades. Undoubtedly many actresses would jump at the opportunity to play the part.

Likelihood of being made: There is the potential that if Hollywood sorts itself out, women will be far more represented in filmmaking. If this happens, Coppola could be just another talented female director on a near inexhaustible list. However, as is sadly the case, the film world is still dominated by men. As such, as long as keeps on making inspired cinema, this biopic seems likely.

Lotte Reiniger

Why this film should be made: It's important to remember strong and pioneering women to inspire future generations to stand up and cut their own paths. German filmmaker Lotte Reiniger directed the oldest surviving feature-length animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed, thus innovating the medium of silhouette . Her influence is huge and warrants a telling to a wide audience.

What this could be about: Lotte lived a long life, from 1899–1981. The film should focus on her innovations, her fight to have her voice heard and to earn respect in a patriarchal society. It should emphasize her significance in the art world, paying respect to her bold ambition. It should also look at her want to flee Nazi Germany and her fraught life during the time of Hitler's Third Reich, when she was forced to make propaganda films for her country.

The film should show Lotte as an artist in turmoil at times on an artistic journey she didn't always want to take, fighting back after the end of WWII to get back to her brilliant and inspiring artistic roots. Reiniger is a legend whose fascinating legacy deserves far more recognition than she receives.

Who could play Reiniger: Whether Alicia Vikander, Katherine Waterston or Natalie Portman, a host of fantastic females could play the part of one of the first animators with aplomb.

Likelihood of being made: Not likely. Lotte, sadly, doesn't possess the reputation to attract producers for what could be an epic biopic. It would be a financial risk in an era where money matters to those at the top.

What biopics would you love to see? Let us know in the comments below.


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