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Biopic bonanza The stars who will play music's greatest legends including Aretha Franklin, David Bowie and Bob Marley in upcoming movies

Following the success of music biopics on the lives of Freddie Mercury and Elton John, we look at the next batch that will chronicle the iconic lives of famous musicians - and who's set to star in them

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Lucy Boynton will play Marianne Faithfull. Photo: Paul Smith/Featureflash

Lucy Boynton will play Marianne Faithfull. Photo: Paul Smith/Featureflash

Johnny Flynn of Netflix’s Lovesick is playing David Bowie

Johnny Flynn of Netflix’s Lovesick is playing David Bowie

Timothée Chalamet as music legend Bob Dylan

Timothée Chalamet as music legend Bob Dylan

Austin Butler will play Elvis

Austin Butler will play Elvis

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Lucy Boynton will play Marianne Faithfull. Photo: Paul Smith/Featureflash

Music legends Freddie Mercury and Elton John had their stories told to great acclaim in recent Hollywood biopics.

Now the floodgates are to open with a range of rock and roll life stories about to be released and streamed.

Producers have seen the demand - and the massive amounts of money that can be made - for films that outline how some of our biggest pop idols first found fame and fortune, often in the face of great adversity.

STARDUST

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Johnny Flynn of Netflix’s Lovesick is playing David Bowie

Johnny Flynn of Netflix’s Lovesick is playing David Bowie

Johnny Flynn of Netflix’s Lovesick is playing David Bowie

First out of the traps will be Stardust, which tells the story of how a humble David Jones turned himself into a world superstar as David Bowie.

Lovesick star Johnny Flynn plays the musician in a story which focuses on his first road trip to America and the creation of his legendary alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust.

Unlike Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, the Freddie Mercury and Elton John biopics, the movie has been made without the co-operation of Bowie's estate. This means that none of his famous songs will feature, just cover versions he sang himself. Instead, the film is a "character study", producers claim.

It is released this month on a range of video-on-demand platforms because of the closure of cinemas as a result of the pandemic.

GOING ELECTRIC

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Timothée Chalamet as music legend Bob Dylan

Timothée Chalamet as music legend Bob Dylan

Timothée Chalamet as music legend Bob Dylan

Eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that Saoirse Ronan's best pal Timothée Chalamet was going to play Bob Dylan in an untitled film being referred to as Going Electric.

The baby-faced actor, star of Little Women and Lady Bird, will portray the legendary folk singer in 1965 when he shocked fans by turning to the electric guitar and was booed off the stage.

It has currently been put on hold because of the pandemic.

FAITHFULL

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Marianne Faithfull pictured in 1967

Marianne Faithfull pictured in 1967

Marianne Faithfull pictured in 1967

Lucy Boynton starred in Bohemian Rhapsody and now she is to play Marianne Faithfull in the film Faithfull, which she is also producing.

Set in the swinging 60s, it will follow the highs and lows of her career after being discovered as a convent schoolgirl at 17.

She became a pop star, had a tumultuous romance with Mick Jagger that inspired some of the Rolling Stones' greatest songs, and ended up a homeless drug addict in Soho.

BOY GEORGE

Boy George is getting the Hollywood treatment in a flick that doesn't yet have a title.

It will follow his early career from when he was just George Alan O'Dowd - in a London-based Irish family - to his rise up the charts as part of the group Culture Club in the 1980s.

The film is being written and directed by Sacha Gervasi, who made Anvil! The Story of Anvil, for MGM.

ARETHA FRANKLIN

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RESPECT: Jennifer Hudson plays Aretha Franklin

RESPECT: Jennifer Hudson plays Aretha Franklin

RESPECT: Jennifer Hudson plays Aretha Franklin

Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin is getting not one but two biopics.

The first is Respect starring Jennifer Hudson, which will be released in the autumn.

Directed by Liesl Tommy, it follows Franklin's life from a child singing in her father's church choir to achieving international superstardom.

Aretha chose Hudson to play her before her death in August 2018.

BOB MARLEY

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Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

The biopic of reggae star Bob Marley will be made by his son Ziggy.

The Jamaican died of cancer in 1981 but he became a household name and changed reggae music forever with a list of top-selling albums like Exodus in the 1970s.

Details of the Paramount film, including plot and casting, have not been released.

MICHAEL JACKSON

It has taken a few years but there is finally going to be a film on Michael Jackson's life.

Graham King, who produced the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody, has bought the film rights and also acquired access to use all of Jackson's music.

King has also brought on screenwriter John Logan, who he worked with on Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator. No more information has been revealed.

THE BEE GEES

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The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees

King is also developing a biopic on the The Bee Gees with Steven Spielberg. It is expected to follow the English band's rise to world domination as the kings of disco.

Starting out in the 1960s, the Gibb brothers - Barry, Robin and Maurice - earned global fame with the soundtrack of the massive 1977 film, Saturday Night Fever, including mega-hits Stayin' Alive, Night Fever and More Than a Woman.

King and Paramount have the music rights so can include the hits in the film.

Barry is the sole surviving member of the group, as Maurice and Robin died in 2003 and 2012.

ELVIS PRESLEY

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Austin Butler will play Elvis

Austin Butler will play Elvis

Austin Butler will play Elvis

He may have left the building but interest in Elvis Presley never seems to wane.

Austin Butler will play the king of rock 'n' roll in a movie by Baz Luhrmann which focuses on the singer's relationship with his controversial manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Tom Hanks takes the role of the controlling Parker and recently showed off the bald head he has adopted for the role on The Graham Norton Show.

The film is currently in production in Queensland, Australia.

WHAT'S ON THE WAY?

Other biopics still in the planning stage, or which have been temporarily been put on hold, include a film on John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

A script was written by Anthony McCarten and Ono was to produce, but there has been no news recently.

Similarly, a film on Amy Winehouse, which will be produced by her family, seems to be in limbo.

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