Ryan Gosling to Produce, Possibly Star in Busby Berkeley Biopic (Exclusive)
Warner Bros. Pictures is giving Busby Berkeley the biopic treatment, with Ryan Gosling circling to play the famous director and choreographer of musicals from Hollywood’s golden age.
The studio has optioned Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley by Jeffrey Spivak for an adaptation to be produced by Marc Platt and Gosling. The two previously worked together on the indie crime movie Drive.
The plan is to develop the project as an acting vehicle for Gosling, who also may direct.
The project is in the early stages and no writer is attached.
Choreographer and film director Busby Berkeley became famous for his elaborate dance routines in Hollywood musicals like 1933’s 42 Street and Gold Diggers of 1933, two of the many movies he choreographed for Warners. He was especially famous for his overhead shots in which chorus girls began shifting kaleidoscopic patterns, and he earned three Oscar nominations for best dance direction, a category that no longer exists.
The son of an actor and actress, Berkeley became a Broadway dance director in the 1920s after serving in the army during World War I. He came to Hollywood to work on films like Eddie Cantor’s Whoopee! in 1930. He turned to directing with 1933’s She Had to Say Yes and then Gold Diggers of 1935 and continued to work throughout the '40s and early '50s, moving from studio to studio.
“In an era of breadlines, depression and wars,” Berkeley once said, “I tried to help people get away from all the misery...to turn their minds to something else. I wanted to make people happy, if only for an hour.”
Platt knows a thing or two about musicals. He produced Broadway’s box-office shattering Wicked and is working on Disney’s adaptation of the Broadway musical Into the Woods, due out in December. He also produced Legally Blonde, which was turned into a Broadway musical.
Gosling recently wrapped his directorial debut How to Catch a Monster, which he also wrote. Platt produced the drama, which co-stars Eva Mendes and Saoirse Ronan.
Chantal Nong will oversee the project for the studio.