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Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 05/18/2009

Who Do You See as Sinatra?

By Liz Kelly

Frank Sinatra. (William P. Gottlieb)

According to an unnamed source Jamie Foxx is in the running to portray Frank Sinatra in an upcoming Martin Scorsese-directed biopic about the famed Italian singer/actor's life.

But he's not the only one. Other candidates whose names have been mentioned in recent days include George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio, Harry Connick Jr., Johnny Depp and Justin Timberlake.


(Clockwise: Jamie Foxx, Justin Timberlake, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Harry Connick Jr. and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Below, we handicap the odds:

Jamie Foxx
Pros: Proved his biopic chops with an Oscar-winning portrayal of Ray Charles. And anyone who can play Ray Charles and Wanda has some serious range. And he can sing (though we could have done without this).
Cons: Could be as distracting as Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan.

George Clooney
Pros: Reprised Sinatra's role as Danny Ocean in three successful "Ocean's 11" (and 12 and 13) movies.
Cons: Would have to go through a "Benjamin Button-esque" transformation to play the young, toothpick thin Sinatra.

Leonardo di Caprio
Pros: He's Marty Scorcese's go-to guy -- having starred in Scorsese's "The Departed," "The Aviator" and "Gangs of New York."
Cons: Could the baby-faced DiCaprio really adapt to play a paunchy older Sinatra?

Harry Connick Jr.
Pros: He's got a voice that could melt a microphone and has single-handedly kept smooth, jazzy vocals a sellable commodity -- paving the way for the likes of copycat Michael Buble.
Cons: He's had supporting roles in small movies like "Little Man Tate" and "Hope Floats," but the guy has never -- never -- carried a movie.

Johnny Depp
Pros: He's Johnny Depp.
Cons: Thanks to "Sweeney Todd" we know he can sing, but can he croon?

Justin Timberlake
Pros: He's got the singing thing down cold.
Cons: His guest appearances on "SNL" are quickly becoming legendary, but as a dramatic actor he hasn't made much headway.

--

Photo Credits: Sinatra (William P. Gottlieb), Jamie Foxx, Justin Timberlake, George Clooney, Johnny Depp (AP), Leonardo DiCaprio, Harry Connick Jr. (Getty Images)

By Liz Kelly  | May 18, 2009; 11:43 AM ET
Categories:  Insta-Polls  
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Comments

Johnny, Johnny, Johnny.

The guy can do serious roles. Plus, he just looks darn good up there on the screen.

Posted by: epjd | May 18, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Ooo, Harry Connick Jr. Good call. I am going to vote for Timberlake, though; I think he could pull it off.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | May 18, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Actually, now that I think about it, Sinatra was more a stylist than a singer, especially in the second half of his career. Either Depp of Timberlake could bring it off, even tho I voted for Connick. I think it's because Connick already does a good Sinatra.

Posted by: reddragon1 | May 18, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Anyone but Pierce Brosnan.

Posted by: mdreader01 | May 18, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

An unknown Italian actor from NJ might work best. Casting calls are necessary.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 18, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I think part of the problem with the search is that there are, in reality, three Sinatras.

There's Francis Albert, the put-upon son of an Italian imigrant. A young, skinny singer with a big voice. Earnest and eager, but connected with all sorts of shady characters. Best played by Justin Timberlake.

Then, there's Frank Sinatra, movie star, tunesmith, multiple marrier, fellow rat in the pack. You need some swagger here. Definitely Depp territory.

And lastly, Sinatra in his older age, reduced to occaisional Tonight Show appearances, a yearly stint with Jerry Lewis on the Telethon, curmudgeonly father and observer of pop culture. To play him as he defends the Catholic Church against Sinead O'Connor and engages in a series of comatose "duets" would take a heavyweight like Leonardo di Caprio.

Posted by: mdreader01 | May 18, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I go with Timberlake since Sinatra wasn't much of an actor either.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 18, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I go with Timberlake since Sinatra wasn't much of an actor either.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 18, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Tee hee.
If Foxx plays Sinatra, who will play Sammy Davis, Jr.? Borat?

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 18, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Johnny Depp could go the different-color-contacts route (cf. blue-eyed Madonna as brown-eyed Eva Peron). But the idea of Willy Wonka/Edward Scissorhands as Frank just bugs me. I fear that Depp would play Frank as another quirky character.

I voted for Leo. Harry is too old; George would be too smug; Jamie doesn't look Italian enough. Justin? Please. Casting Timberlake as Sinatra would be like casting Beyonce as Etta James. Unthinkable.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | May 18, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Lemme see that yummy photo of Daniel Craig in a swimsuit, again.

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 18, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Excuse my political incorrectness, but uh, Jamie Foxx is black. Wouldn't that be just a tad odd to have him play the white, blue-eyed Frank?

Posted by: Californian11 | May 18, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

It has already been reported that through an arrangement with the Sinatra family, Frank Sinatra's original music will be used and the actor portraying Frank will not be required to use his own voice. With that information, I would say that since singing is not required, Harry Connick, Jr. doesn't have the acting chops to pull it off and . Johnny Depp is the only actor mentioned in this article that is capable of knocking this role out of the ball park.

Posted by: pariseyes | May 18, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Any of the above would do a decent job, but Foxx would be a very daring choice. Connick would be the weakest, despite having the best singing cred.

Other thoughts:
Elijah Wood (those blue eyes!)
Ewan McGregor
Robert Sean Leonard

Posted by: northgs | May 18, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse


If Foxx plays Sinatra, who will play Sammy Davis, Jr.? Borat?

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 18, 2009 1:03 PM
===============
Tracy Ullmann

Posted by: mdreader01 | May 18, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Harry Connick, Jr. was really good as Leut. Cable in the more recent movie of "South Pacific"...he gets drunk, beat up, ends up angry in the brig. Reminded me of Sinatra in "From Here to Eternity." I think the guy is capable, plus he has a killer voice and looks fantastic with his shirt off.

Posted by: possum_pouch | May 18, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I see no reason why Jamie Foxx should be up for this role. This is a movie about a blue-eyed Italian. Furthermore, I don’t think Depp is the right choice either.

I am tired of the same old actors or wanna be actors. I wish they would do a casting call and find a young guy no one has ever heard of before.

Posted by: supersonic1 | May 18, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Stevie Van Zandt!

Harry Connick Jr. is too tall.

Posted by: memphis1 | May 18, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Diversity in the "supporting roles" in the Sinatra flick:

Ava Gardner
Tony Curtis & Janet Leigh
Rat Pack
Bogie & Bacall
MM
JFK
Mia Farrow

Plus assorted gangsters/politicians and BROADS.

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 18, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Cons: Thanks to "Sweeney Todd" we know he can sing, but can he croon?

Seriously?

Posted by: memphis1 | May 18, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Matt Damon?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | May 18, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

If Sinatra was still around, he'd look at the casting list and say, "I got pieces o' guys like you in my stool."

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | May 18, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Leo Leo Leo -- he can do it in his sleep! Enough said.

Posted by: ciaobella | May 18, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I could play a great BROAD. Where do I sign up?

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | May 18, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I could play a great BROAD. Where do I sign up?

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | May 18, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse


LOL!!!!

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 18, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Cate was the best Dylan of the bunch.

Depp can do anything.

Posted by: kabuki3 | May 18, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter how any of these guys sing. Word is the actor will lip-synch Sinatra's recordings.
Leo's not skinny and heart-throbby enough for young Sinatra, and Depp's not thick and thuggy enough for old Sinatra. Maybe they should share the role . . .

Posted by: chantooz | May 18, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh heh-heh. What about Tom Cruise? Cheesy, short, in an ugly suit and bad toupee, singing to a bunch of old ladies at Riverbend in Cincinnati, Ohio circa 1982. Oh, I can just SEE it!

Posted by: possum_pouch | May 18, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but Depp's singing in Sweeney Todd wasn't exceptional. Good enough for the movie character, but not good enough to portray an actual singer. Glad it's going to be a lip-synch anyway--Harry Connick is the only one who can pull off a believable Sinatra voice and he's not a big enough actor for a Scorcese film.

Mr. Hermespal did all the graphics and layout for a really nice coffee table book on Sinatra. In his musician's hat, he would say Sinatra is a GREAT singer--just because he makes it sound easy, it isn't.

And I'm sorry, even considering Jamie Fox for this is political correctness run amok -- if we were talking about a fictional story written about a white character, it wouldn't matter to change the race of the actor (although this one has period ramifications--it's asking too much suspension of disbelief that the audience would forget he's black in scenes set in the 50s where his race would matter in how he was treated or perceived). But a BIOGRAPHY demands close casting to the real person. Can you imagine casting a white or Latino guy as Ray Charles? Absurd.

Posted by: sorcerers_cat | May 18, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

How about Adrien Brody - I think it could be a nice fit.

Posted by: tracyt42 | May 19, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Harry Connick Jr. as the young Sinatra, George Clooney as the older Sinatra.

Posted by: rw-c | May 19, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The Jamie Foxx "rumor" was a joke launched by Defamer....not really in the running to play Sinat.

Posted by: dbunkr | May 20, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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