Sonar Entertainment has optioned the rights to Vivek J. Tiwary novel The Fifth Beatle: The Story of Brian Epstein, to develop as a multi-part event series with Tiwary serving as executive producer.
News site Deadline (among others) reports Sonar Entertainment has optioned the rights to the best-selling graphic novel, previously developed as a feature by Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment, and Tiwary will write the series adaptation.
Artist Andrew C. Robinson worked on The Fifth Beatle for nearly four years with writer and Tony Award-winning theater producer Vivek J.Tiwary with fellow artist Kyle Barker, and it was released by US publisher Dark Horse in 2013, and has won several awards.
The Fifth Beatle beautifully recounts the untold true story of the legendary Beatles manager and his effort to drive the unknown band from playing in a Liverpool cellar to international superstardom. Epstein overcame great obstacles, both personally and professionally, being a gay man in a time and place where homosexual acts were a felony.
The graphic novel has won numerous literary awards including the Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based work, and two Harvey Awards including Best Original Graphic Album, as well as several other honours. In 2014 The Fifth Beatle was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives, in conjunction with Brian Epstein’s official induction.
The TV project includes Tiwary’s access to the John Lennon-Paul McCartney song catalogue, the first Beatles-related biopic to secure such rights.
“Brian Epstein’s story is rich in inspiration and is set amidst a backdrop of great cultural change and the legendary history of the Beatles,” notes Vivek J. Tiwary, “so an event series truly feels like the only way to do Brian justice. We’re going to do wonderful things with the extra creative room afforded to us.”
The Fifth Beatle is one of many comics inspired by The Beatles and their related history. In the 1980s, British weekly Look-In published “The Beatles Story”, written by Angus Allan and drawn by Arthur Ranson (who, in a canny move for the time, retained rights to the strip), which has been re-published in several countries and is available digitally through ROK Comics for iPad and iPhone.
• Official The Ffith Beatle web site: http://thefifthbeatle.com
Giving almost all his time working on the project, Robinson talks about the book and why he hasn’t been seen much of in the past few years. Newsarama talked to Robinson about his goals as an artist working on something so heavy and profound to fans around the world, his creative process, and what kept him motivated along this journey.