Mozart. Loretta Lynn. Bobby Darin. Ray Charles. The list of musical biopics goes on and on, but they're usually about the voices, or fingers, that brought the music to life -- the faces on stage, not the faces behind the scenes. According to The Hollywood Reporter, however, we're about to dip behind the scenes for a biopic about Leonard Chess, the man behind Chess Records. The new project, Cadillac Records, was written by Darnell Martin, and she* will direct it as well. (She's the woman behind Prison Song, which she co-wrote with Q-Tip, and she also directed the real-time, eerie L-Word episode "Losing the Light.") To top that off, Matt Dillon is in final negotiations to star.

I can only hope that the film wrenches Dillon out of his cycle -- crappy flick after crappy flick, with a small handful of good stuff mixed in so that we don't completely write him off. Usually, a decent actor at least tries to balance the two, if not only go to the crap once in a while for a big paycheck. I mean heck, both Michael Caine and Peter O'Toole are unforgettable actors who have headed schlock -- but they've also had enough good roles to sustain them. But maybe Dillon's tide is finally turning.

Chess, born Lejzor Czyz (changed, I'm sure, to offer vowels to the consonantly-challenged), grew up in Poland before moving to Illinois in the twenties. A few decades later, he and his brother were into the black nightclub scene of Chicago. They soon joined Aristocrat Records, which they later renamed Chess Records when they took control and flooded it with notable talent. The label took on names like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and Etta James. Production will begin this January in New Jersey and Chicago. Can you see Dillon as the man behind such R&B greats?

*Edited to correct sex. Thanks to reader Diana!
categories Movies, Cinematical