Variety reported yesterday that the two actors had signed up for Chapter 27, an independent production by a first-time writer-director, Jarrett Schaeffer, which will tell the story of the weekend leading up to Lennon's murder on 8 December, 1980. Leto will play Mark David Chapman, the former security guard determined to kill a celebrity, and Lohan will play a devoted Beatles fan who meets and befriends him.
The film is one of a flurry of productions set in motion by the imminent 25th anniversary. The Irish documentary-maker David Harvey has put together a 60-minute non-fiction reconstruction of the murder, constructed largely around 40 hours of taped interviews with Chapman at Attica prison, where he is serving a life sentence. Harvey's film will be broadcast on Channel 4 in Britain and on NBC in the US on the day of the anniversary.
The opinion of Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, about the feature film is not known, but she strongly opposes any venture that risks giving Chapman publicity. She has already spoken out against the documentary: "It shows a lack of understanding of the painful memories of what happened to John's beautiful life."
Chapman shot Lennon five times as he emerged from a limousine outside the Dakota building where he lived. Earlier in the day, he had met the former Beatle and persuaded him to autograph his copy of Double Fantasy, the album Lennon and Ono had just released.