CATEGORIES Drama, Foreign Language, Independent, Casting, Johnny Depp, Cinematical Indie, CinematicalWhen we first told you about a Salvador Dalí biopic in the works, the project was to be helmed by Simon West (Con Air). Ten months later, we got more news on the film, which had seemingly replaced West with Andrew Niccol (Gattaca). But now it seems we may have been discussing two different pictures. According to producer Peter Rawley (1975's Ransom), there was once nine projects in the works based on the surrealist's life. Now there are only four (known about), including Rawley's Dalí, which so far has a script by Philippe Mora (Howling III) and for which Rawley is trying to woo Johnny Depp to play the title role. According to the producer, Dalí will also be about the artist's whole life -- unlike the other films, which he claims are more about Dalí's wife and art-dealers -- and will be shot in Barcelona and Prague as soon as a cast is in place.
Niccol's movie, as we've known, is to star Al Pacino. Titled Dalí & I, The Surreal Story, and based on the autobiography by Stan Lauryssens, the movie will focus on the relationship between the artist and the author, who was for a time Dalí's neighbor. That project is being scripted by John Salvati (One Way Out) and Niccol. Movie #3 is called Goodbye Dalí and is being produced by David Permut (Face/Off).
Apparently the project will be about the artist's final years, as Permut is trying to cast Peter O'Toole (who is 10 years younger than Dalí was when he died). The screenplay for Goodbye has been written by Yaniv Raz and Allan Rich, and it focuses on the relationship between Rich, a former art dealer, and Dalí. That film will be shot in Spain and New York. According to a spokesperson for the Dalí estate, the fourth project in the works is being made in Central Europe. The spokesperson also says that as long as the films are respectful to the artist, they will have permission to feature Dalí's works onscreen.
Obviously there isn't enough room at the multiplex or in the interest of moviegoers for so many biopics about Dalí, so it is likely that one or more will fail to actually go into production. But there is a chance that there will one day be dueling Dalí movies, and as was the case with the dueling Capote pics, only one will be a hit. My guess is that Depp will not become involved with Rawley's film, and so Dali & I, with the Hollywood clout of Niccol and the appeal of Pacino, will be the winner.