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Bill Graham Biopic Moving Ahead at Fox With Zach Dean Writing

Variety logo Variety 1/6/2017 Dave McNary
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Fox has tapped Zach Dean to adapt its biopic about iconic concert promoter Bill Graham, a year after buying movie rights to the autobiography “Bill Graham: My Life Inside Rock and Out.”

Shawn Levy is producing through his 21 Laps company and has been on the project since last year.

Graham was collaborating with Robert Greenfield on the book before he perished in a helicopter accident in 1991 at the age of 60 while returning from a Huey Lewis and the News concert. Greenfield is an executive producer on the movie along with David Graham and Alex Graham.

Graham’s story began in Europe, where he was placed in an orphanage as a child to avoid the Holocaust before being sent sent to New York. He was drafted into the Army in 1951 and served in Korea.

Graham moved to San Francisco in the early 1960s to be closer to his sister and became a key figure in the explosion of the music scene by booking the Fillmore and Winterland venues. He booked the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Byrds, the Allman Brothers Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Who, Cream and Led Zeppelin.

By the 1970s, Graham was booking massive concerts at Watkins Glen and the Oakland Coliseum’s Day on the Green. He appeared memorably as the concert promoter in a key scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.”

Dean wrote the script World War II drama “Atlantic Wall” with Bradley Cooper signed on to star as an American paratrooper operating behind enemy lines. He also wrote the script for Warner Bros.’ “Methusela” with David Heyman producing.

Levy directed and produced the “Night at the Museum” franchise for Fox. He’s a producer on “Arrival,” “Why Him?” and the upcoming “Fist Fight.”

Dean is repped by WME and Madhouse. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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