In the midst of the media circus surrounding the opening of Nanny McPhee Returns, lead Maggie Gyllenhaal mentioned to a reporter at Screen Crave that she would be starring opposite her husband, Peter Sarsgaard (An Education), in the upcoming biopic of country music legend Bill Monroe.
“Bill Monroe, who invented bluegrass music, had a kind of Sid and Nancy style affair with this woman Bessie Lee Mauldin throughout his life,” said Gyllenhaal, referring the role she will be playing. “T-Bone Burnett’s going to do the music and Callie Khouri – who wrote Thelma and Louise – wrote the script… so we’re going to do that together.” Finn Taylor (The Darwin Awards) is set to direct.
The project has been described as a “labor of love” for Sarsgaard, a devoted bluegrass fan, who brought the untitled biopic to Khouri a number of months ago to be developed as a low-budget independent film. It’s the perfect project and role for Sarsgaard, an incredibly talented actor who hasn’t yet gotten the recognition he deserves from the Academy. The chemistry his real-life wife, Maggie, will bring to their onscreen relationship can only help his chances at an inevitable Oscar nod.
Bill Monroe helped develop the bluegrass genre in a career that spanned more than half a century. The musician, whose best known songs include ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ (which may possibly be the title of the film) and ‘Uncle Pen’, has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, just three years before his death at age 84.
Bill Monroe, Photo Courtesy CMT