After not hearing about it for so long, the recent news that the film "The Fifth Beatle," about the life of Beatles manager Brian Epstein, had locked up financing and music rights was a wake-up call that the film is alive and well.
"I started working on 'The Fifth Beatle' about five years ago, but it's not as though that's the only thing we've been doing," writer-producer Vivek Tiwary told us on the phone. "I'm currently a producer on 'American Idiot,' the Green Day musical and producer of 'The Addams Family,' both of which are Broadway productions and both of which are prepping road tours to start later this year. And I've also been developing a television sitcom, which I just sold to CBS, called 'Punk Rock Dad.'"
Tiwary says getting the music rights for the Brian Epstein film was a big hurdle.
"It's taken literally years to secure the music rights and putting some financing together, no easy feat," he says. "The music rights alone, that's a process that's been over two years just working on securing the music rights. So it was not an easy process and something that I'm very proud to have accomplished." He also said a $25 million budget has been secured from DIMI Entertainment in Nashville.
There were previous reports about a Brian Epstein movie starring Jude Law, but Tiwary makes it clear his project is separate. "We are talking about another project completely. Jude Law announced he was going to make his own Brian Epstein film about a decade ago." He says he reached out to Law to combine forces, but was told by his agents that Jude was no longer pursuing his Brian Epstein projects.
Tiwary wrote the script for the new film. "I wrote the screenplay myself. The script is finished. Speaking as a writer, your script is never really done until you're in the editing room, really. But I have a script that is at a place where I'm very proud of it."
Though the film isn't based on any particular book, there is one Brian Epstein biography that he was very much aware of.
"There's one book which I believe is out of print called 'In His Life,' which is a collection of interviews written by the late Debbie Geller, who incidentally was a good friend of mine and a big supporter of this project. She died way too young and I hope she is resting in peace. And I hope she is proud of what I've accomplished so far."
He says when he started the project, he touched base, sort of, with Brian Epstein.
"When I first started developing this project about five years, the very first thing I did was I flew to Liverpool and I went to Brian Epstein's gravesite. And I sat at the grave and I told Brian what I wanted to do and asked his permission, so to speak. In a poetic, karmic way I thought that was the right thing to do. After that, I reached out to his estate to also make sure his estate was comfortable with me and my approach. And I would say I have become very friendly with his estate in the ongoing years. They've been wonderful to me."
He said he then reached out to Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and to the two estates of John Lennon and Geroge Harrison.