It looks like Yasiin Bey is diving back into his acting bag.
According to a report Variety published Wednesday (July 21), the rapper formerly known as Mos Def has signed on to portray Thelonious Monk, a revolutionary jazz pianist whose life is set to be chronicled in a new biopic titled, Thelonious. The film is all set to begin production next summer. Peter Lord Moreland is all set to write the screenplay for the movie, which is being produced by Jupiter Rising Film. Should be dope.
Bey is no stranger to acting. Dating back to 1997, he’s appeared in films like Something the Lord Made, Monster’s Ball, 16 Blocks and more. In 2008’s Cadillac Records, he portrayed the role of legendary musician Chuck Berry.
Bey, who launched a podcast called “The Midnight Miracle”with Dave Chappelle and Talib Kweli earlier this year, will have to bring his A game to play the role of Monk in the film, which Moreland says will focus on the musician’s mental health and pursuit of musical success. For their part, the folks behind the film believe in Bey’s acting chops.
“This role is one that requires great depth and a unique understanding of who and what Thelonious Monk was and how his lasting impact can still be heard throughout the music world today,” says Alberto Marzan, who co-founded Jupiter Rising Film with 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.”
In his career, Monk was known for his improvisational abilities behind a piano, and he released dozens of albums in his career. He died of a stroke in 1982. In 1993, he was posthumously awarded a lifetime achievement award from The Recording Academy.