Jazz legend Thelonious Monk is getting the big-screen treatment.
Variety announced that Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, has been cast as Monk in the upcoming biopic, Thelonious. Production, led by Jupiter Rising Film, is set to begin next summer. Jupiter Rising FIlm co-founder Peter Lord Moreland will also write the script.
According to a statement given to Variety, the film “will center around [Monk’s] struggles for musical success, mental illness and th espiritual love triangle between his wife Nellie and one of the world’s richest women, Nica Rothschild.”
Moreland spoke about his relationship with Monk’s memory, saying, “Having spent most of my life as a musician, record producer and composer, I feel really connected to him. Yasiin’s artistic measure, his approach and so many other intangibles are perfect to bring Thelonious to life.”
Moreland’s Jupiter Rising Film co-founder Alberto Marzan commented on what it will take to make the film, saying, “This role is one that requires great depth and a unique understanding of who and what Thelonious Monk was and how his lasting impact can still be heard throughout the music world today.”
“The moment I met Yasiin, I knew we found our Thelonius,” Marzan continued. “It’s an honor to be the first to tell this important story in an epic way.”
Bey has an extensive film career apart from his one in the music industry. Fans of Carmen: A Hip Hopera might remember him as Lt. Miller, but he has also been in films and TV productions such as Monster’s Ball, The Italian Job, The Woodsman, Lackawanna Blues, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Chappelle’s Show, Be Kind Rewind, Dexter, The Boondocks, and Cadillac Records. In Cadillac Records, he portrayed another legendary musician, Chuck Berry. He is set to star in the film The Disconnected, which is in pre-production.