*Yasiin Bey — formally known as rapper Mos Def — has decided that he wants no part of a new Thelonious Monk biopic after learning the estate of the late jazz artist disapproves of the project.
As reported by Ace Showbiz, Bey was attached to the film when producer Peter Lord Moreland announced on Wednesday that production will begin next summer. Bey was tapped to portray the iconic jazz pianist in the film simply titled, Thelonious. The story will center on Monk’s artistry, struggles with mental illness, and a “spiritual love triangle between his wife Nellie and one of the world’s richest women Nica Rothschild.”
“Thelonious Sphere Monk. A leader. A Lord. A shape in space. A man from a community of devotion who lives a simple life distant from society,” Bey said in a statement.
“I am so thrilled yasiin has signed on to play Monk, his artistic measure, his approach and so many other intangibles are perfect to bring Thelonious to life,” said producer/screenwriter, Peter Lord Moreland.
“The moment I met yasiin I knew we found our Thelonious. It’s an honor to be the first to tell this important story in an epic way since it’s never been told before, we are swinging for the fences on this one. It’s a luxury to be the team to tell this important story,” said Alberto Marzan, producer and co-founder of Jupiter Rising Film, the banner behind the project.
A day after announcing the film, Yasin Bey exited the project.
According to Ace Showbiz, his decision came hours after Thelonious Monk’s son, T.S. Monk, told Pitchfork that the biopic is “totally unauthorized!”
“I hate the script and I control the music in Thelonious’ catalogue,” T.S. Monk wrote in an email to the outlet. “There is no involvement by anyone in the Monk family with this project, and we actually condemn the effort.”