Orson Welles' fight to get Citizen Kane made; Houdini's quest to find out if there is life after death; the life story of Otis Redding. These are a few of the biopics - movies about real people - in the Hollywood pipeline. My favourite? Ah, that would be the one about the man whose car bore the vanity plate DRUNKY.
Martin Scorsese is in line for a biopic of Dean Martin, the velvet-throated Rat Packer who died of respiratory problems in 1995.
The subject matter isn't surprising. There's a new book about Frank Sinatra out; and we've tasted Austin Powers and Swingers already - two movies which celebrate lounge living. America has rediscovered cocktail culture: Tarantino's new Jackie Brown smacks of it, although, predictably, much lower down the food chain than the rat pack lifestyle. Of cocktail culture, Dean Martin was king. I was dragged to see any old Dean Martin movie playing, courtesy of my dad. I've probably seen all 51 of Dino's celluloid adventures - from his early teaming with Jerry Lewis through his cowboy phase and right past the fun of Matt Helm.
Of the Rat Pack, Martin was the silliest, the most laid-back. The man who made alcoholism glamorous, he was not the drinker he made himself out to be - or so the story goes. Dino's caramel voice, once described as "the voice men THINK they have when singing in the shower", was hidden by his self-deprecating humour. Once, on live television, Dino did a pratfall. Immediately, he quipped, "I hurt my tutu". You couldn't dislike him. Who's to play Dino on the big screen? Think Oscar. Think two Oscars. Think Tom Hanks, who is a great actor but not pretty enough. Others lined-up for Scorsese's Rat Pack epic are better choices: John Travolta as Sinatra (the chubbiest ever), Jim Carrey as Jerry Lewis and our own Hugh Grant as Peter Lawford. This is a movie everybody - okay, me - will queue up to see.
But what's the buzz on what I've seen this week? A big, heart pounding sleeper of a movie that's released on 27 February, that's what. Kurt Russell proves to be a cool customer when his wife is kidnapped in the middle of nowhere in Breakdown. This movie kicks in all those mechanisms which are supposed to save your life, all the adrenaline rush, all the heart pounding agony. Breakdown - a cross between The Vanishing and Duel will remind you of the first time you saw Jaws, Silence of the Lambs, Alien... yes, the story is that good.Reuse content