Brian Epstein Movie Hires New Director Amid Filming Hiatus
Sara Sugarman — whose film credits include 2012’s Vinyl and 2004’s Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen — has been hired as his replacement, Deadline reports. The project began a hiatus earlier this month, with producers noting that Akerlund was “taking a break from the film.”
Both then and now, sources told Deadline that the Grammy-winning Swedish filmmaker — who’s helmed music videos for artists like Ozzy Osbourne, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney — had other work commitments that interfered with his involvement. While Akerlund didn’t comment about his reasons for bowing out, he did issue a statement to Deadline, saying, “I regret that things haven’t turned out as we had planned on Midas Man. I wish Jacob [Fortune-Lloyd] and the team the best with the film.”
Fortune-Lloyd (The Queen’s Gambit) stars as Epstein, widely described as the “fifth Beatle,” who managed the band from 1962 to 1967, when he died of an accidental drug overdose at age 32. The cast also includes Emily Watson, Eddie Marsan, Lukas Gage, Rosie Day and Bill Milner.
Filming began in October in Liverpool but has been tabled for nearly three weeks. The goal is to resume preproduction next week and resume shooting on Nov. 29. Deadline reports that Akerlund could potentially still earn a credit on the film, given that production won’t be reshooting already-filmed scenes.
Fortune-Lloyd was announced as the film’s lead in April 2021. “It’s a huge privilege to play Brian Epstein, a man who made such an important and lasting cultural impact but who struggled to find a secure place in a world he helped to shape,” he said during a media announcement. “He was a fascinating person with great talent, ambition and courage, and I’m so honored to be given the opportunity to represent him.”