John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Brian?
Beatles fans will forever debate who the Fifth Beatle was. Some will argue it was George Martin, who was responsible for so many of the sonic flourishes and orchestrations on all The Beatles albums. Pete Best was originally the band’s drummer before being kicked out for Ringo (good call). Keyboardist Billy Preston recorded on just about all of Let It Be‘s tracks. Yoko Ono anyone?
But if you asked Paul McCartney in 1997, “If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian.”
Brian Epstein was The Beatles manager from when he first discovered them playing in the Cavern Club in 1961, convinced George Martin to take them on and up until his death in 1967. Epstein even had a rumored homosexual affair with John Lennon, and there’s speculation that Lennon’s “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” is about him.
Now Simon Cowell, of American Idol and The X-Factor, is planning a feature film on Epstein’s life, The Fifth Beatle, based on a graphic novel by Vivek J. Tiwary. According to Variety, Tiwary will also adapt the screenplay of his own story and will serve as a producer. Cowell and company have even secured the rights to The Beatles music for the film, not an easy or inexpensive task.
“I have always been fascinated by Brian Epstein – and his story,” Cowell said in a statement via Variety. “He played a huge role in the Beatles’ incredible success – and, I believe, remains the most talented manager ever. Yet his story has never been fully told. Also, like everyone across the world, I have so much respect for the Beatles and their music. So to be given the chance to be involved in this project was one I just could not pass up.”