It was announced yesterday that a biopic about Billy Joel is in the works. Creatively titled Piano Man, the film “will follow Joel’s early years — from being discovered by Irwin Mazur, who managed the band The Hassles that Joel joined as a teenager, to his breakout performance in 1972 that captured the attention of Clive Davis,” according to Variety.
Sounds pretty good, right? Well, the only snag is that Billy Joel is not involved and is refusing to grant the rights to his music, name, and life story to this project. But through the force of the creative spirit (and the desire to make money), production company Jaigantic Studios has found a loophole: Instead of getting Joel’s permission, Michael Jae White’s studio acquired Mazur’s life rights.
Fans of NBC’s Thursday night comedies from 2007 will recognize this slick maneuver. In season three of 30 Rock, Jenna is set to star in a Janis Joplin biopic, but because they cannot get the life or music rights, she ends up starring as Janie Jimplin. When that name can’t get cleared, she becomes Jackie Jormp-Jomp. Here is one of her songs:
Of course, I am now wondering what songs our titular piano man will be singing if he can’t perform the ones we all know. Will we be seeing a rousing version of “Keyboard Dude” from Bobby Jowl? Maybe a stirring rendition of “Austria'' sung by Bailey Jones? Or a barn burner of a performance of “We Were Just Walking By, the Blaze Was Here Already” by Beelby Geode?
Whatever the case may be, I’m sure I will love it just the way it is. Or, for legal reasons, exactly how it already exists.