Each year it seems like a new biopic is being released. The Oscars are recognizing the actors starring as these famous faces as Renée Zellweger, Rami Malek, Will Smithand Jessica Chastain took home the Best Actor, and Best Actress wins the past few years for their onscreen portrayals of people like Freddie Mercury and Judy Garland. With this year Elvis rocking the hearts of multiple generations, audiences are patiently awaiting Blonde, Marilyn Monroe’s biopic.
There are dozens and dozens of good and bad biopics. From athletes to actors and the business icons in between, biopics give audiences an up-close look at people speckled throughout history that have made their mark. As the genre heats up with more and more critically-acclaimed stories coming to screen, there are multiple in the works and some we’d like to see on the screen within the next decade.
One of Hollywood’s most tragic losses, Natalie Wood‘s journey from child star to the night of drowning, would engage movie lovers across the globe. Wood starred in films like West Side Story, Rebel Without a Causeand Splendor in the Grass. A child actress, she started in films like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Miracle on 34th Street. Over her career, she earned three Oscar nominations, two for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress.
Wood’s story has the potential to thrive in the hands of the Chilean director Pablo Larraín. Larraín is responsible for producing the stirring biopics Jackie and Spencer; both focused on some of history’s most famous women. Under his direction, the film could span Wood’s whole career or just a few visceral moments before the fateful night in 1981. Portraying Wood would be big shoes to fill for any upcoming actress.
Portraying pillars of strength in her characters, Cicely Tyson was a history-making, award-winning actress. While she only received one Oscar nomination for her role in SounderTyson was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2019 and a Kennedy Center Honors award in 2015. She died at the age of 96 in 2021. Throughout her career, Tyson broke boundaries in the industry, being the first African American actress to win an Emmy Award. for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie for her performance in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974).
Throughout Tyson’s life, she had a tumultuous relationship with musician Miles Davis,and it was revealed in her January 2021 memoir that she was a young mother. Tyson’s life onscreen would be a perfect fit for Zendaya, the two each holding a historic Emmy win, respectively. With ties to industry powerhouses like Tyler Perry and Denzel WashingtonTyson’s story could easily fall into the right hands for a future biopic.
According to IMDb, Hayao Miyazaki is referred to as the Japanese Walt Disney. Miyazaki is a three-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker. He took home one golden statue in 2003 for Best Animated Feature with Spirited Away and was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2015. Miyazaki is a director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author, and manga artist. He co-founded Studio Ghibli, one of the most iconic animation studios in the world.
Bringing films like Howl’s Moving Castleand Princess Mononoke To movie lovers around the world, Miyazaki’s story is one that his loyal fan base would love to see onscreen. A biopic of Miyazaki has the epic potential to merge animation, art, and his legacy if the right filmmaker takes on the project.
An American ballet dancer, Misty Copeland was the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater Company in 2015. She showcased her immaculate skill in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Her historic achievements in a demanding athletic profession would translate beautifully to screen. Her own website’s biography details the story of living in a motel with her five siblings when she discovered ballet.
While a documentary, A Ballerina’s Taleis available on Amazon Prime, a biopic of Copeland’s journey from that motel to principal dancer would resonate with audiences with the right director behind the lens. Darren Aronofsky‘sBlack Swan is one of the most highly-rated ballet films, the dark nature of his films may be too much for an inspiring tale. Director Reinaldo Marcus Green’s recent success with King Richard could place him at the top of the list.
While his death shocked the world, Heath Ledger brought to life a vast expanse of memorable and iconic characters. In a documentary, I am Heath Ledger, the late actor’s family, friends, and colleagues reflected on his life and career. He was nominated twice for an Oscar, first in 2003 for his performance in Brokeback Mountain and 2009 for The Dark Knight. He won posthumously in 2009, his family accepting the award for his role as the Joker. Like many before him, Ledger’s death became the subject of speculated rumors of drug abuse and mental illness, his family discrediting those rumors in a documentary.
A biopic of Ledger could find him traveling from the beaches of Australia to Hollywood and the moments after that, including the birth of his child with actress. Michelle Williams. Pablo Larraín, once again, would be a masterful choice to tell Ledger’s story. Larraín’s ability to expertly pack emotion with proper pacing into biopics is slowly establishing him as a force to be reckoned with. A film of this nature about Ledger may give his fans closure as they continue to mourn his loss with each rewatch of his films.
KEEP READING: ‘Winning Time’ and 9 Other Times Biopics Were Criticized By Their Subjects