It will be music to the ears of Billy Joel fans everywhere to hear the news that the legendary performer’s life will be the topic of a new biopic titled Piano Man. Focusing on the singer and pianist’s early years, before becoming a household name, the feature aims to tell his humble beginnings. From his discovery by producer Irwin Mazur, who first met the young talent through his management of Joel’s band, The Hassles, to his awe-inspiring 1972 performance which would change Joel’s life forever, the flick promises to take fans on a deep dive through Joel’s life.
But, as we mentioned in the title, there’s a bit of a hangup. It seems that Billy Joel won’t be involved in the biopic, nor will he release the rights to his music, name, likeness, or life story. So, the lurking question is “how are they going to pull this one off?” The answer lies within the world surrounding Irwin Mazur. Jaigantic Studios, who will be the company backing the film, has gained the rights to Mazur’s life which they will use as a jumping point to form their story. Along with discovering the piano wiz during Joel’s time performing with The Hassles at his father’s Long Island club in 1966, Mazur would also serve as Joel’s representative from 1970 until 1972. If 1972 sounds familiar to you, it’s because that’s the year in which Joel broke through to the big time. And now, everything makes sense and falls into place. This will be how and why production is settling on Joel’s early years versus his full rise to superstardom.
The Billy Joel biopic will be executively produced by Jaigantic Studios with the studios’ founder Michael Jai White serving as a producer alongside Mazur, Mayne Berke, Donovan de Boer, and Adam Ripp. Ripp (Gambit, Devil’s Whisper), who has personal ties to the story, will also write and direct. Ripp’s father, Artie Ripp was the first person with whom Joel ever crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s with a deal that would land the performer his first album, Cold Spring Harbor, in 1971. Honoring his father in a statement attached to the announcement of Piano Man, Ripp said the iconic performer has been a major player in his life story since the age of four, which was when the filmmaker’s father took Joel onto his record label. Ripp went on to say that the tunes created by Joel have been “ingrained” into his being and that he has always wanted to “explore and celebrate” the behind-the-scenes tale of Joel’s rise to prominence.
So, if you were looking forward to hearing Billy Joel’s iconic tune, “Piano Man,” played by a top A-list actor impersonating the singer, you’ll need to wait longer. Like so many of his other classic hits, the song about the perceptive piano player who performs at the local dive, came out long after his 1972 breakthrough. But, if you’re searching for a feel-good film that will show and celebrate the passion and drive behind Joel’s young life on his way to the top, Piano Man is the biopic you’ve been waiting for.