From Audrey Hepburn to Elvis Presley: See All the Hollywood Icons Getting the Biopic Treatment

Lucille Ball, Elvis Presley, Audrey Hepburn and Whitney Houston are just some of the late stars being immortalized on the silver screen. Take a look at all the recent castings of legends.

By Lindsay Weinberg Jan 08, 2022 2:14 AMTags

Hollywood can't help falling in love, singin' in the rain and having breakfast at Tiffany's.

Sure, it's the age of Marvel madness (from WandaVision to Hawkeye) and 2000s reboots and reunions galore (looking at you, Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, Friends and Sex and the City).

But your favorite celebs are also turning their attention to the Golden Age of Hollywood as their next source of inspiration, shining a spotlight on musical and movie legends. So, if you feel like everyone is suddenly playing late icons of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, you're right.

Singing sensations including Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley are getting a movie makeover, played by Naomi Ackie, Jennifer Hudson and Austin Butler, respectively. 

Tom Holland and Chris Evans are both jumping from their Marvel-ous superhero roles and landing in the past, playing movie musical pioneers Fred Astaire and, reportedly, Gene Kelly

As for Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, they've each taken the opportunity to reimagine a late leading lady. Nicole just revealed her portrayal as Lucille Ball on Being the Ricardos with Javier Bardem, while news broke that Rooney will reportedly play beloved EGOT winner Audrey Hepburn.

Stars Playing Real People

Here are all the Hollywood icons getting a biopic.

Audrey Hepburn

Rooney Mara will play the Breakfast at Tiffany's star in an upcoming movie directed by Call Me By Your Name visionary Luca Guadagnino, according to multiple reports.

Rooney is a longtime fan of Audrey Hepburn and all things associated with her, including the fashion label Givenchy. "I've loved the brand ever since I was little, just because of its association with Audrey," The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo actress previously told W Magazine.

Gene Kelly

Marvel star Chris Evans reportedly pitched an idea to play Singin' in the Rain star Gene Kelly in a new project, according to Variety. The film will center on a 12-year-old boy, who "works on the MGM Lot in the 1950s" and "finds an imaginary friend in Kelly while working on his newest film."

Fred Astaire

From Spider-Man to this dancing legend! In December, Tom Holland shared how he's preparing to play Funny Face's Fred Astaire on the big screen in a movie produced by Amy Pascal

"I'm going to dust off the old tap shoes and go back to Pineapple Dance Studios [in London] and start taking tap lessons," he told Variety. "I'm quite a good tap dancer... It's something I've done for a very, very long time so it's something I'm sure I'll be able to pick up."

Tom said he's going to try to get Fred's "elegant and graceful" style just right. "It's something I'm gonna practice, something I'm very excited for and I think it will be a fantastic film," Zendaya's boyfriend added.


Lucille Ball

Despite casting backlash, Nicole Kidman took on the role of the iconic Lucille Ball in the 2021 movie Being the Ricardos.

"I tried not to [listen to the criticism], but I'm a human being, so there's time when you go, 'Gosh, maybe I'm not the right person for this,'" she told Today, adding that she was glad she stayed on board. "I was so grateful because I got to fall in love with [Lucille]."

Now Nicole is earning Oscar buzz for her performance, which covers the scandal about Lucille's alleged Communist ties in the midst of shooting an episode of I Love Lucy.

Desi Arnaz

Javier Bardem starred opposite Nicole in the Aaron Sorkin movie, playing Lucille's on- and off-screen husband. At the premiere, he told E! News about his instant chemistry with his co-star. "We had no time to rehearse," Javier said. "But, the good thing was she was coming with a lot of work, and I was coming with a lot of work, and we just exchanged and it happened to work—meaning we were relying on each other and trusting each other to make the journey together." 

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston's official biopic is in the works. Her manager and sister-in-law, Pat Houston, gave actress Naomi Ackie the go ahead to play the singer in I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which is expected to be released for Thanksgiving in 2022.

"To transform someone into a matchless Icon is virtually impossible but with careful consideration, Naomi Ackie was selected based on her quality performances and her deep commitment to emerging into the woman that we all loved," Pat said.

Elvis Presley

In November 2021, director Baz Luhrmann released a first look at his upcoming Elvis Presley biopic starring Austin Butler. The clip even referenced the musician's motto, "Taking Care Of Business."

Austin has previously called the role "the privilege of a lifetime," saying, "It's gonna be an extensive exploration process."

Marlene Dietrich

"Jessica Lange and I are working on a piece about Marlene Dietrich in Vegas in the early '60s," Ryan Murphy told TIME in 2019. "But I'm so booked. When am I going to do it? I don't know." He noted, "I'm only into April of next year's calendar."

We'll have to wait and see how Jessica adds her touch to the German American actress, who made a name for herself in Witness for the Prosecution and Touch of Evil in the 1950s.

Aretha Franklin

"I didn't want to let her down," Jennifer Hudson told E! News' Daily Pop of playing Aretha Franklin in the 2021 movie Respect. She shared, "While filming, I said, 'I know we all have respect for Aretha, but by the time we get to the end of this film, I'd love for them to have a newfound respect for her.'" 

The role earned Hudson a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song in a movie. RESPECT!