Last week Ewan "Trainspotting" McGregor signed-up to play James Joyce in a forthcoming biopic of the Irish writer. After the success of literary adaptations from Emma to Jude, we should probably feel grateful it's not a remake of Ulysses, but simply the latest in a long line of movies scheduled to introduce cinema-goers to Lives of the Great Artists.

Somehow biopics never seem to bring out the best in Hollywood. Witness The Music Lovers, which sold Tchaikovsky as "the story of a homosexual who married a nymphomaniac!" or Gary Oldman's unrestrained Beet-hoven in Immortal Beloved, memorably pitched as "the genius behind the music, the madness behind the man".

So it's with some trepidation that we can look forward to the release next month of a new rash of artistic endeavours. First up is Anthony Hopkins as the misogynist Cubist in Surviving Picasso, sporting white wig and authentic Breton shirt. And hot on his heels comes Basquiat, an MTV-style history of the 80s artist with David Bowie popping up as Warhol.

Closer to home, Wilde is currently shooting in London with Stephen Fry, the cerebral Cell Mate who dared not speak his lines, in the title role. Otherwise it's business as usual, with producers continuing to plunder libraries for novel, if rather familiar screenplays. Adaptations of The Mill on the Floss , The Moonstone and Mrs Dalloway are all in the works, along with a modern Macbeth set in Birmingham. Expect to see Ewan McGregor in "The Bard" at a cinema near you soon.

Liese Spencer