Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies director Jean-Marc Vallée has been tapped by Universal Pictures to helm a biopic about John Lennon and Yoko Ono‘s relationship, Deadline reports. The script was written by Anthony McCarten, who wrote the forthcoming Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody starring Rami Malek as the late Queen frontman. Vallée was reportedly being discussed as the director of the next James Bond flick, but took himself out of the running to focus on the film and Lennon and Ono’s romance. Ono is onboard as a producer.
“We are all huge Beatles fans, and this is a dream come true,” producer Nathan Ross told Deadline. “There were inner and outer struggles John had, and family turmoil as a child, and things she had to endure before John’s tragic death. The thing we loved about the script was its stark honesty. You see so many biopic scripts where you can see that the cooperation of the subject’s family had something to do with the editorial, and that wasn’t the case here.”
Lennon and Ono met in a London art gallery in 1966 and were married three years later in Gibraltar. Ono and Lennon were together through the Beatles’ transition to a solo career up until Lennon’s murder outside of their Upper West Side apartment building in 1980, although the film will end before Lennon’s death. The couple shared an emphatic love of art, activism, and music, and often collaborated on projects together.
The producers are hoping to have access to Lennon’s music in order to tell the couple’s story.
“We’ll have to make a deal for the music, but with Yoko producing with us, we’ll have access to the estate and the library of songs,” Producer Michael De Luca said. “I’ve been listening to John’s songs forever, but as we developed the movie, I became aware of just how profound is the emotional impact of the music and their legacy is on me.”
The film is expected to go into production in late 2019.