Yasiin Bey will Star as Thelonious Monk in an Upcoming Biopic


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Yasiin Bey performs during the Black on Both Sides 20th Anniversary concert at The Greek TheatreYasiin Bey performs during the Black on Both Sides 20th Anniversary concert at The Greek Theatre

Photo by Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images

Yasiin Bey is returning to the world of film to portray an avant-garde jazz icon.

Five years since his last acting gig, Yasiin Bey is headed back to the big screen.

This time around, Bey will portray the iconic avant garde jazz pianist, Thelonious Monk, in a biopic treatment. Simply titled, Thelonious, the film will center on Monk’s remarkable life, incomparable playing, struggles with mental illness, and a “spiritual love triangle between his wife Nellie and one of the world’s richest women Nica Rothschild.

Bey’s casting was announced along with the film in a press release on Wednesday. “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 cryptically said in a statement in the press blast. And he isn’t the only one seemingly stoked about landing the role. “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 Thelonious producer and screenwriter, Peter Lord Moreland, who is a fellow alumnus of New York’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School.

“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,” adds Alberto Marzan, producer and co-founder of Jupiter Rising Film, the banner behind the ambitious film project. It will, however, be some time until we get to see Bey sitting behind a piano in a fez cap hammering out “Round About Midnight.” Production on the film is slated to begin at some point next year. As a placeholder, we suggest revisiting Monk’s catalog and even a few screenings of the stellar 1989 documentary, Straight No Chaser.

Hold tight for more details on the film in the weeks and months ahead.