Jake Gyllenhaal Will Play Leonard Bernstein in Cary Fukunaga’s ‘The American’

Get the announcements ready because True Detective director Cary Fukunaga and Jake Gyllenhaal are teaming up for a project based on the life of legendary composter Leonard Bernstein. Gyllenhaal is set to not only star as Bernstein, but produce The American, while Fukunaga with both produce and direct the project.

It’s based on the biography Leonard Bernstein by Humphrey Burton, and with a screenplay by Michael Mitnick, the official synopsis goes as follows:

“In five movements, like a symphony, “The American” follows Leonard Bernstein from conducting the New York Philharmonic at the impressive age of 25 through the meteoric rise to fame, all while struggling both personally and publicly to be everything that everyone expected him to be, most of all himself.”

Gyllenhaal has found his way into many fascinating roles over the past number of years, but this could end up being his best. With Fukunaga giving the direction, he could capture Bernstein like nobody else could. His talents are truly limitless, and because he seems so passionate about the project, it could end up as something incredibly special:

“Like many people, Leonard Bernstein found his way into my life and heart through West Side Story when I was a kid,” said Gyllenhaal in a statement. “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.”

This project sounds amazing. Fukunaga is best known for his work on True Detective, but if you haven’t seen his Netflix original film Beasts of No Nation, I highly recommend you treat yourself. Not to mention that the unfortunate downfall of True Detective Season 2 without him involved, that alone is a testament to his talents.

It is interesting though because this isn’t the only Bernstein biopic being developed. Steven Spielberg recently made moves towards a Bernstein film that could end up being his next film after Indiana Jones 5. Paramount also has a script ready, which had Martin Scorsese attached very early on in the process, but unsure whether or not that’s still the case. We’ve seen multiple projects in development at the same time before, but it comes to no surprise for someone like Bernstein. His work is tremendous, something that touches at least a little bit of everyone. Luckily for Gyllenhaal and Fukunaga, they’re recent strides have lined them up to be the first out of the gate next year. The American currently doesn’t have a release date, but will film this year to get ready for the 2019 film festival circuit.

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