Why Michael Shannon Should Play Beethoven in a Biopic

By Iman Sadri

February 11, 2018

Actor Michael Shannon has an uncanny resemblance to the iconic composer Ludwig Van Beethoven. Shannon and Beethoven have 1) Very similar facial features : The same piercing eyes, arching eyebrows, lip-line, nose and chin anatomy. 2) They both have a correlative intensity and 3) Matching, serious demeanors. Audiences will be entranced with Michael Shannon playing Beethoven in a biopic. An on-screen portrayal by Shannon will make the viewer feel that they are going back in time and really watching the iconic composer come to life.

Michael Shannon should star in a Beethoven film biopic and stage adaptation and both projects need to be directed by Ramin Bahrani, Shannon’s go-to director (99 Homes, Fahrenheit 451). Bahrani is best suited to incorporate Shannon’s idiosyncrasies within the framework of Beethoven. Thus enhancing the realism of the late composer.

Too many biopics have been made where the actor / actress portraying the real life protagonist do not resemble each other. The best biopics are films where the actor / actress playing a historical figure strongly looks like the character (Malcolm X by Denzel Washington) – (Gandhi by Ben Kingsley) with superb acting. The latter won the Best Actor Academy Award. The former was nominated for the same award.

“The best biopics are films where the actor / actress playing a historical figure strongly looks like the character.”

A new Beethoven biopic played by Michael Shannon would be watched and lauded globally because Beethoven’s music and face is recognized worldwide. Audiences would be entranced. The powerful music of Beethoven in the backdrop, the right set design (which could be on a shoestring budget by filming on location in Europe) – a la Milos Forman in Amadeus) and Ramin Bahrani’s visionary storytelling, would make the film a masterpiece.

Beethoven on Broadway 

Michael Shannon should also play Beethoven in a stage production. Also directed by Bahrani. The musical score, facial similarities, Shannon’s acting with Bahrani’s vision, would take Broadway by storm. Audiences would want to watch Beethoven come to life in front of them. All audiences know the music (Symphony No. 5, Fur Elise, Moonlight Sonata, so many to list …) and they will appreciate the star power of Michael Shannon.

“A new biopic of Beethoven played by Michael Shannon would make the audience feel like they are traveling back in time.”

Iman Sadri, the author of this article discussed the Beethoven biopic idea with Michael Shannon at the 2016 Golden Globes.

There are a great amount of storylines and available scripts to choose from in Beethoven’s life ( shameless plug here for my 2017 play ‘Beethoven at Mozart’s in Vienna – a true account of a 17 year Beethoven visiting a 31 year old Mozart in Vienna in 1787 and narrated by Beethoven later in life).

The film could be linear or feature flashbacks (as my play does). One thing is certain however, a biopic of Beethoven played by Michael Shannon needs to be captured on screen.

Iman Sadri is the founder of @ThePersianObserver and @LASmileMagazine and writes of biopic casting ideas.  

Iman Sadri and Ramin Bahrani at the Westwood Premiere After Party for Amazon’s Homecoming