Scorsese and Sinatra family clash over Frank biopic

Frank Sinatra

The Oscar-winning director's plan to focus on singer's mob links in film has upset daughter Tina

BY Casey Chance LAST UPDATED AT 17:46 ON Tue 18 Aug 2009

The Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese has apparently incurred the wrath of Frank Sinatra's family, with his plans for a biopic that focuses on the late singer's alleged Mafia links.

Scorsese's project, with the working title Sinatra, is the first feature film devoted to the life of the singer whose career encompassed 1,400 musical recordings and dozens of film appearances. But Tina Sinatra, the singer's 61-year-old daughter and keeper of her father's flame, is said to be unhappy with the "dark direction" of the film's script.

According to the New York Post, Tina Sinatra - who Universal Pictures appointed as the film's executive producer as part of its two-year negotiations to secure the rights to Sinatra's life story and music - wants a more positive version of her father's story to be told.

Scorsese, the director of several gangster films such as GoodFellas and Casino, signed up to direct Sinatra in May. A source told the newspaper: "Marty wants it to be hard-hitting and showcase the violent, sexually charged, hard-drinking Frank, but Tina wants to show the softer side of her dad and let the focus be on the music."

Scorsese also wants to focus on the Sixties, "a very swinging time for Frank," the source added, and a key period of the legendary singer's mythology. "He was having sex with a garden variety of bimbos and cementing his Rat Pack status. [But] Tina really wants to make sure that a sanitised Frank comes through." A spokesman for Scorsese said the pair were "looking forward to working together".

The FBI kept Sinatra under surveillance for almost five decades, thanks to his alleged links with Mafia figures such as Carlo Gambino, Sam Giancana and Lucky Luciano, as well as his friendship with John F Kennedy. Sinatra, who died in 1998, also inspired one of cinema's most famous mafia moments. The Godfather author Mario Puzo based the character of crooner Johnny Fontane on Sinatra, although the infamous horse's head scene - in which a Hollywood executive who fails to cast Fontane in his film subsequently finds a severed horse's head in his bed - was fiction, according to his daughter.

The team behind the film are also rumoured to be split on who plays Frank Sinatra. Scorsese's choice is said to be Leonardo DiCaprio, Tina Sinatra reportedly favours George Clooney while Universal allegedly prefers Johnny Depp. · 

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