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Yasiin Bey to Portray Jazz Icon Thelonious Monk in Biopic

Mos Def
Yasiin Bey, more famously known by his former stage name Mos Def, will portray American music legend Thelonious Monk in a recently announced biopic. 

According to its producers the film, tentatively titled “Thelonious” will focus on the Jazz sensation's struggles for musical success, mental illness and the “spiritual” love triangle between his wife, Nellie, and one of the world’s richest women, Nica Rothschild.

Thelonius Monk 
Alberto Marzan, cohead of the production company — along with
screenwriter Lord Moreland —Jupiter Rising Film, set to begin working on the film next summer told Rolling Stone that finding an actor able to portray the eccentricities and talent of Monk was a challenge until one of the film’s producers mentioned Bey.

When his name was brought up, there was a silence that I will never forget,” Marzan said. “We all envisioned him. This needed to be somebody that understood Thelonious’ music on an intimate level. It needed to be someone who understood the life and challenges of being a musician, a black man in this universe. Yasiin has Thelonious’ morals and focus on what matters.

Yasiin lives his life with a vibe not easily found in Hollywood, because he’s not Hollywood, point blank,” Marzan adds. “His values and moral compass are intentional and focused on what really matters. Everyone who knows his body of work has seen him boldly transform himself from his music to the Broadway stage, the silver screen and beyond. When he looked at me and said, ‘I am Thelonious,’ I knew we had found him.

Before dying of a stroke at the age of 64 in 1982, Monk had cemented a reputation as one of the founding fathers of Jazz. Brilliant Corners, Criss Cross, and Thelonious in Action brought him to the forefront of the movement in the 50s and showcased the singular vision that would direct his career. 'Til this day he is one of the most covered composers of the genre. 

Bey, who began his career as a child actor before expanding into music and movies, is a founding member of the iconic underground hip hop duo Black Star, along with fellow Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli. 



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