The American: Jake Gyllenhaal To Star, Cary Joji Fukunaga To Direct

Deadline is exclusively reporting that Jake Gyllenhaal is set to star as Leonard Bernstein in BRON Studios feature The American, with Cary Joji Fukunaga directing.


Structured in five movements, The American follows Leonard Bernstein from conducting the New York Philharmonic at the age of twenty-five and through a meteoric rise to fame, all while struggling both personally and publicly to be everything that everyone expected him to be, most of all himself.


The film is set to be based on the Leonard Bernstein biography written by Humphrey Burton, which is being adapted to a screenplay by Michael Mitnick.


Jake Gyllenhaal released a statement saying:

Like many people, Leonard Bernstein found his way into my life and heart through West Side Story when I was a kid. But as I got older and started to learn about the scope of his work, I began to understand the extent of his unparalleled contribution and the debt of gratitude modern American culture owes him. As a man, Bernstein was a fascinating figure—full of genius and contradiction—and it will be an incredible honor to tell his story with a talent and friend like Cary.


Cary Joji Fukunaga released a statement adding:

Bernstein’s artistic passions changed the way generations understood and appreciated music. It’s been wonderful collaborating with Michael and Jake on Bernstein’s story as we endeavor to capture both the iconic person and artist. Jake is the perfect partner to help bring this story to life and to play this legend.


The film is being developed from scratch by Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker under their Nine Stories production banner, and will be producing alongside BRON’s Aaron L. Gilbert, Fukunaga’s Parliament of Owls and Martha Parker. Jason Cloth of Creative Wealth Media, Michael Mitnick and Adam Gopnik will serve as executive producers.  While Sierra/Affinity will be selling the project to international territories at Cannes, BRON Studios will be financing the film that will begin principal photography in the fall.

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