“No way any studio picks this up”: Paul Schrader’s Frank Sinatra Biopic Starring Kevin Spacey to Fight Cancel Culture Won’t Please Old Friend Martin Scorsese

Fans believe Paul Schrader's Frank Sinatra biopic is too controversial to be pitted against Martin Scorsese's own take on the singer

paul schrader, kevin spacey, frank sinatra
credit: wikimedia commons/995577823Xyn


  • Paul Schrader announced his new controversial project, a Frank Sinatra biopic starring Kevin Spacey in the lead.
  • Schrader's choice to include Spacey will probably draw some flak and studios will look to avoid such controversies.
  • Moreover, the project collides with Martin Scorsese's take on the singer-cum-actor which stars Leonardo DiCaprio.
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Paul Schrader has often landed himself in controversies with his anti-political correctness takes. There have been instances when Schrader was asked to back down from social media during his film’s release. He continues his usual controversial takes by announcing a Frank Sinatra biopic starring Kevin Spacey. Schrader had defended the actor back in 2018 at the peak of the #MeToo movement. He wants to cast him now since Spacey was cleared of the charges against him.

The Card Counter director Paul Schrader wants to cast Kevin Spacey in his Frank Sinatra biopic
The Card Counter director Paul Schrader wants to cast Kevin Spacey in his Frank Sinatra biopic

Schrader’s intention to fight against Cancel Culture could cost him his movie as no studio may be willing to work on a controversial project. Even if it gets taken up by a studio, Schrader’s film still has to compete with Martin Scorsese’s biopic of the late singer and actor.

Paul Schrader Wants To Bring Back Kevin Spacey to Mainstream Films With Frank Sinatra Biopic

kevin spacey in house of cards
House of Cards star Kevin Spacey had talks with Paul Schrader to star in a Frank Sinatra biopic

Paul Schrader‘s recent film, Oh, Canada, starring Richard Gere and Jacob Elordi will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this month. His project is based on the book of the same name by Russell Banks, who passed away last year. While promoting the film in an interview with Variety, Schrader announced his new project and leading actor.


The Taxi Driver writer wants to cast Kevin Spacey in the title role of his biopic about Frank Sinatra. Spacey has been shunned from Hollywood after the harassment allegations against him in 2018, but the actor was cleared of his charges last June.

However, the studios still don’t want anything to do with the actor due to fear of stirring up controversies. Schrader intends to fight this cancel culture and bring back the actor into mainstream cinema. The director shared with Variety:

“Cancel Culture won’t let him go. I would not use Kevin if he had been convicted. But he was not convicted. […] Kevin Spacey is a great actor. He won two Oscars. He was found not guilty. Why would I not work with him?”

However, the studios and the cancel culture are not the only oppositions Schrader is going to face, if he moves ahead with his project. It hasn’t been a month since fans learned that Martin Scorsese was also making a biopic on Frank Sinatra starring Leonardo DiCaprio (via Variety). While Scorsese and Schrader’s visions for the projects are different, going against Scorsese’s take could be detrimental to Schrader’s project.


Interestingly, even Scorsese has to figure out how to move ahead with the project since he hasn’t received the blessing from Tina Sinatra, the singer’s daughter. She controls her father’s estate and would need to approve any official use of her father’s name.

Fans Suggest That Paul Schrader’s Project With Kevin Spacey Will Not Happen

Paul Schrader is up against Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio if he moves ahead with his Sinatra biopic (credits: The Wolf of Wall Street)
Paul Schrader is up against Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio if he moves ahead with his Sinatra biopic (credits: The Wolf of Wall Street)

Fans on X appeared to have more clarity on Schrader’s project than the director himself. One fan suggested that if he intended to bring back Kevin Spacey to prove a point, no studios would pick up such a controversial project. One fan went a step ahead and called the film an “incoming canceled project.”

Another fan commented that both Spacey’s status and age would not make him look as good as DiCaprio in a Scorsese-directed film. One fan shared that the project is likely to fall apart while another used Jonah Hill’s meme to tell Schrader, “Don’t do it Paul!”. Some fan reactions read:



Scorsese has also reportedly cast Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Ava Gardner, Sinatra’s second wife. While many studios are pulling strings to bag the Scorsese project, Variety reported that Sony is said to be the front-runner to nab the project.


Paul Schrader’s Oh, Canada will premiere at the 77th Cannes Festival on May 17, 2024. The film has yet to announce a theatrical release date.


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1282

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.