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Thelonious Monk Estate Says Biopic Starring Yasiin Bey Is Unauthorized

Earlier today, the Los Angeles–based production company Jupiter Rising Film announced that Yasiin Bey would portray Thelonious Monk in a biopic about the late jazz legend. The co-founders of Jupiter Rising Film also said that production on the movie, titled Thelonious, would begin in summer 2022.

T.S. Monk—Thelonious Monk’s son and the chairman and co-founder of Rhythm-A-Ning Entertainment, the official company of the Thelonious Monk Estate—tells Pitchfork that the film is not authorized by the estate. “This project and its announcement are totally unauthorized! I hate the script and I control the music in Thelonious’ catalog,” Monk wrote in an email. “There is no involvement by anyone in the Monk family with this project, and we actually condemn the effort.”

Peter Lord Moreland is one of the co-founders of Jupiter Rising Film. He wrote the script for Thelonious and is billed as one of the film’s producers. According to Jupiter Rising Film’s press release, “The film will center around [Thelonious Monk’s] struggles for musical success, mental illness and the spiritual love triangle between his wife Nellie, and one of the world’s richest women Nica Rothschild.”

Alberto Marzan is the other co-founder of Jupiter Rising Film and he’s also billed as one of the movie’s producers. Marzan said in the press release, “It’s an honor to be the first to tell this important story in an epic way since it’s never been told before, we are swinging for the fences on this one. It’s a luxury to be the team to tell this important story.”

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