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Martin Scorsese to direct Frank Sinatra movie
By Sue Zeidler
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese will direct the big screen movie about the colorful life of entertainment legend Frank Sinatra, who legions of fans called Ol' Blue Eyes, Universal Pictures said on Wednesday.
Casting has yet to be announced for the role of Sinatra, arguably the most popular singer of his era and who also struck box office gold with roles such as his Oscar-winning turn in "From Here to Eternity" in 1953.
The singer was previously portrayed on the small screen by Philip Casnoff in a 1992 television miniseries and by Ray Liotta in HBO's 1998 movie, "The Rat Pack."
But the Scorsese movie, "Sinatra", is thought to be the first to depict the life of the star in a feature film.
The project, on which Sinatra's daughter Tina will serve as executive producer, was announced one day before the anniversary of the death of the iconic singer and film star, who died in 1998 of a heart attack at the age of 82.
Negotiations with Sinatra's estate took several years as the family reportedly debated how best to tell the story.
Sinatra made his first recording in 1939 and continued recording almost until his death, being responsible for such classics as "Strangers in the Night" and "My Way."
"My Way," became his signature tune and theme for a life that saw him drink and smoke heavily, run with a "Rat Pack" of fellow Hollywood stars, link up with some of the world's most beautiful women and influential politicians and carry on a lifelong feud with the media.
Universal said it secured the life story and music rights from Frank Sinatra Enterprises, a joint venture of the Sinatra Estate and Warner Music Group, and then bought the film project from Peter Guber's Mandalay Pictures, which had been developing a project for several years.
"My father had great admiration for the talent of the people he chose to work with, and the talented people who worked with my father had great admiration for him," Tina Sinatra said in a statement.
"It is personally pleasing to me that this paradigm continues with Marty Scorsese at the helm of the Sinatra film," she said.
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson, who wrote "Field of Dreams," is writing the screenplay.
Born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1915, Sinatra performed on more than 1,400 musical recordings and in 58 films.
Universal Pictures is owned by General Electric.
(Editing by Terry Wade)