Andy Warhol is like the bridesmaid of biopics. As a character, he’s popped up in the biopics of several other figures, and yet, despite being one of America’s most influential cultural figures, he’s never gotten a full-scale Hollywood biopic of his own.
David Bowie played Warhol in the Basquiat biopic. Guy Pearce took his turn in Factory Girl, which focused on Warhol’s muse Edie Sedgewick. Both of 2014’s Yves Saint Laurent films featured Warhol as a character. Crispin Glover dawned the white wig in Oliver Stone’s film on Jim Morrison, The Doors.
A fictional Warhol was even a supporting character in the biopic of his attempted assassin Valerie Solanas, I Shot Andy Warhol.
The indignation of it all! Someone who is most famous for trying to kill Warhol got a biopic before Andy even did.
Finally, Jared Leto has come along to right this wrong. He’ll be producing and starring in a film simply titled Warhol.
Michael De Luca, whose previous credits include The Social Network and Moneyball, will co-produce. Meanwhile, Terence Winter, the creator of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Vinyl (which also featured a fictional Warhol, this one played by John John Cameron Mitchell) will handle screenwriting duties. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the rights to Victor Bockris 1989 book Warhol: The Biography were acquired to serve as a basis for the script. That particular book takes a broad look at Warhol’s entire life, so the exact arch the filmmakers shape could be of almost anything.
The fact that Warhol is a character in so many other biopics is a testament to the fact that his life was filled with both bonafide celebrities and the underground “Superstars” he helped to create.
That, of course, means that more than a few of those celebs and superstars will populate the film, begging the question of who will play them?
The roles of figures like Lou Reed, Keith Haring, Basquiat, Nico and Edie Sedgewick (a shame Chloë Grace Moretz put a hold on her film career) would likely need to be filled. Then there’s the all-important matter of who will tackle the ultimate thirst trap role of Warhol muse Joe Dallesandro.
Warhol also shepherded the careers of several transgender entertainers like Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis, and Holly Woodlawn. Leto himself was criticized for taking on the role of transgender woman Rayon in Dallas Buyer Club, despite the fact he won an Oscar for it. Hopefully, Leto takes the criticism to heart and creates opportunities for trans actors in this project.
There’s no word on when the film will be released or who will direct, but according to THR, a healthy budget and awards show aspirations will be attached to the film.