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Entertainment

Jake Gyllenhaal to Star and Produce The American

Jake Gyllenhaal is starring as Leonard Bernstein in ‘The American’ about the iconic composer’s rise to fame.

The 37-year-old actor is set to take on the leading role of the late iconic composer – who won 11 Emmy Awards, plus a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1985 – and also produce the movie alongside director and producer Cary Joji Fukunaga.

The ‘Southpaw’ star says producing the feature about one of the most “fascinating figures” in American culture and portraying Leonard is a dream come true, as he was inspired by his music in the 1961 classic musical movie ‘West Side Story’ growing up.

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

The screenplay, from Michael Mitnick, is based on the biography “Leonard Bernstein” by Humphrey Burton. 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.

The project is an original idea, developed by Nine Stories, Gyllenhaal’s and Riva Marker’s New York-based production company. Gyllenhaal and Marker will produce alongside Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert, Fukunaga’s Parliament of Owls and Martha Parker. Jason Cloth of Creative Wealth Media, Michael Mitnick and Adam Gopnik are executive producers.

“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 honour to tell his story with a talent and friend like Cary.”

American playwright Michael Mitnick has adapted the script from the Humphrey Burton biography ‘Leonard Bernstein’.

The film is cut into five movements, to represent a symphony.

The story follows Bernstein’s ups and downs from conducting the New York Philharmonic in his 20s to his quick rise to stardom.

Fukunaga added: “Bernstein’s artistic passions changed the way generations understood and appreciated music. It’s been wonderful collaborating with Michael and Jake on Bernstein’s story as we endeavor to capture both the iconic person and artist.

“Jake is the perfect partner to help bring this story to life and to play this legend.”

‘The American’ follows Jake’s outstanding performance as real-life Jeff Bauman, who lost both of his legs when two bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, in last year’s ‘Stronger’.