Andy Warhol, the famed pop art icon who died in 1987, was known for his art, for overseeing Andy Warhol’s Factory, for managing The Velvet Underground, and for coining the expression "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” But Warhol has also had an outsized impact in the world of films.
Warhol directed his own experimental films throughout the 1960s and ‘70s. Since then, he’s been portrayed in numerous films, many of them biopics of different Warhol associates. Crispin Glover played him in Oliver Stone’s The Doors, David Bowie portrayed him in Basquiat and Jared Harris played the part in I Shot Andy Warhol. Guy Pearce played Warhol in Factory Girl, while Bill Hader portrayed the artist (as an undercover alien) in Men in Black 3. Cary Elwes will play Warhol later this year in The Billionaire Boys Club. And now we’re about to get another new movie Warhol, in a film focused on the artist himself.
THR is reporting that Jared Leto will play Andy Warhol in a new biopic titled simply Warhol. Terence Winter, the former Sopranos writer, Boardwalk Empire showrunner and The Wolf of Wall Street screenwriter, will write the script for producer Michael De Luca. Winter will be drawing from Victor Bockris’ 1989 book Warhol: The Biography. There’s no word on casting, a director, or on which periods of Warhol’s life the film will focus.
Following the (at best, mixed) reception to his turn as Joker in Suicide Squad, Leto will have a crack at another prestige project here. It’s also worth noting that with Warhol, Leto will be playing someone who, in real life, died of AIDS-related illness. The last time Leto played such a character, in Dallas Buyers Club, he won an Oscar.
Leto has certainly had an unusual career. He was first prominent as a teenager in My So-Called Life, although his subsequent early movie career never quite caught fire. He was better known as a musician than actor for many years, before reinventing himself once again, in his 40s, as an ultra-intense, Oscar-winning, method actor. You can expect to hear lots of odd tales from the Warhol set about Leto’s strange behavior while “getting into character.”
Still, this project is promising, as it features a first-rate screenwriter adapting a fascinating, true-life, only in America tale, with a lead actor who’s capable of strong performances and seems tailor-made to play Warhol (provided the wig work is up to par). Of the past films about Warhol, Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol is arguably the best, so the new film will have something to, pardon the pun, shoot for.
There’s no release date yet for Warhol.