A new film about Robert Parker has been given the green light, decanter.com has learned.
The biopic, with the working title ‘The First Emperor’, will deal with the life of the world’s most celebrated wine critic, from his Maryland childhood to the present day.
One of the film’s producers said, ‘This is the story of how a small-town American guy came to dominate the wine world. This man truly is an emperor of wine.’
The part of Parker himself is not yet finalised, but Javier Bardem (right), who won an Oscar for his spine-chilling performance as the assassin Anton Chigurh in the recent No Country For Old Men, is ‘very interested’, US entertainment website Variety reports.
A source told decanter.com, ‘Javier is a wine lover, and will approach the role of the great wine writer with the same intensity he brought to the part of Chigurh.
‘Remember, this is the guy – I mean Parker – who brought the French to their knees. Javier won’t be cutting any corners.’
Producers say the film will deal with little-known aspects of Parker’s development as a wine connoisseur, such as the young traveller cutting short his first visit to France in order to get down to Morocco to ‘score some really good hash’.
That episode is related in Elin McCoy’s 2005 biography, The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M Parker Jr and the Reign of American Taste, a book which has proved a rich source of anecdote.
The film is in its early stages but it is understood casting is underway with Sideways star Paul Giamatti as Michel Rolland, British star Dame Helen Mirren as Jancis Robinson, and Hugh Grant taking the role of Leoville Barton proprietor Anthony Barton.
This is the latest in a line of high-profile wine films, by far the most successful of which is 2004’s Sideways. January this year saw the release of Bottle Shock, starring Alan Rickman as Steven Spurrier, and a film about the 1976 Paris tasting, Judgment of Paris, is in development.
Written by Adam Lechmere