Often referred to as the fifth Beatle, Brian Epstein discovered the band in the tiny clubs of Liverpool and managed each step of their ascension to musical supremacy. Now, as Dark Horizons points out, Vivek J. Tiwary will write and produce an adaptation of his upcoming graphic novel The Fifth Beatle detailing the man behind the world’s best band.
The book’s focus will not only be on Epstein’s professional successes (he also managed Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer) but on his personal struggles with his sexuality and religion, leading up to his death in 1967 at the age of 32. Towary has signed a deal with Sony/ATV, who owns the Lennon/McCartney catalog, giving the film full access to Beatles songs for the film. Use of actual Beatles tunes is rare; films like Across the Universe and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band used covers, while a recent episode of Mad Men secured “Tomorrow Never Knows” for a cool $250,000.
In a press release, Tiwary explained his desire to paint a fuller story of one of the more mysterious yet crucial characters in the modern pop canon:
“What I unearthed after much research — there is a paltry amount of information readily available on Brian, which is part of why I want to bring his story to the world —was not just an inspirational business story and a blueprint for what I wanted to accomplish with my career, but also a very human story,” Tiwary said. “I had been a lifelong Beatles fan, so I thought that it made sense to study the management of the band that had written the rules of the modern music industry.”
In 2009, producer David Permut announced a separate Epstein biopic entitled A Life in the Day, featuring a script from Tony Gittelson. Last summer, the film secured financing and song rights, but no new announcements have been made since.
The graphic novel is slated to be released in 2013 via M Press Books, with the film hitting theaters sometime thereafter. Below, you can watch an interview with Epstein from the band’s 1964 North American tour.