Jay Leno’s television appearances have been sporadic since he retired from The Tonight Show in 2013. The television personality hosted the show for almost twenty years and since passed the torch to Jimmy Fallon. When he appears in television and film roles, his appearances are often cameo appearances. But Leno will be stepping out of the comfort zone into a dramatic role in the upcoming film about Beatles manager, Brian Epstein. This should not be a total stretch as Leno will be playing a television personality. He has been cast as talk show host Ed Sullivan who hosted The Ed Sullivan Show from 1948-1971.
The film is entitled Midas Man and explores the time in 1961 when Epstein discovered The Beatles and helped shape them into one of the most popular bands of all time. The Queen’s Gambit actor Jacob Fortune-Lloyd is set to portray Epstein in the film. Emily Mortimer play Epstein’s mother and while Rosie Day has been cast as Cilla Black, a singer who was likewise managed by Epstein.
The news of Jay Leno’s casting is only the latest of shake-ups in regards to the film. Earlier this month, Midas Man production went on hiatus as the producers looked to replace the director. Jonas Akerlund was originally hired to direct the movie but was recently let go from the position. According to Akerlund’s statement, it appears that the split was relatively mutual. Deadline reported that the breakdown may have been due to the director being committed to other projects at the time. The film was not left in the lurch for long. Soon after, new director Sara Sugarman was hired to replace Akerlund. Filming is set to commence and is expected to conclude in early February. Sugarman’s directing credits include Vinyl and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.
There is no news of how largeJay Leno’s role of Ed Sullivan will be. However, Leno’s casting is significant. Viewers should be aware of Sullivan’s influence not just as a variety show host but as a music lover. He was instrumental in introducing The Beatles to American audiences and his show was one of the first American shows to put The Beatles on a stage. The band appeared on the show three times in February 1964 alone. The televised appearances catapulted The Beatles into full-fledged Beatlemania. Sullivan was so monumental in the industry that it made news when The Doors were banned from his show in 1967.
Ed Sullivan was only the first stop for The Beatles in America, but it made an impression regardless. Jay Leno may be able to identify with Sullivan as a host of a popular show. The Tonight Show continued on after Leno’s departure. More recently fans can see Leno is another passion project of his. Leno continued to appear on television in Jay Leno’s Garage. The program was a television documentary series that followed the host as he test drove automobiles. His role in The Beatles movie will be an interesting departure from his usual fare.