Leonardo DiCaprio to play rock and roll innovator Sam Phillips in biopic
Paramount film centers on the man who discovered Elvis Presley
Leonardo DiCaprio is looking to bring the birth of rock and roll to the big screen.
The Revenant Oscar winner is on board to star in and produce a biopic about Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records in Memphis and the man who discovered Elvis Presley, EW has confirmed.
The Paramount project is based on Peter Guralnick’s 2015 biography Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘N’ Roll, which chronicles how the disc-jockey-turned-record-producer fused the sounds of blues and country music into what came to be known as rock and roll. In addition to helping launch Presley’s career, Phillips worked with artists including B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison.
DiCaprio is producing the film with Jennifer Davisson under their Appian Way banner, along with Mick Jagger, Victoria Pearman, Steve Bing, Ian Montone, Rick Yorn, and Guralnick. No writer or director has yet been named.
Speaking to EW about his book last year, Guralnick described Phillips as “somebody who changed the course of the world, and who had a democratic vision. [He believed] that there were these hidden resources, these hidden reserves in people who didn’t even know that they possessed this power. Whether they were black or white, they were held back by social strictures, by poverty, by the way in which they were looked at by society. And he saw it as a mission to get out of them something they didn’t even know, necessarily, that they had in themselves.”
Deadline first reported the news.