Bio-pics about the lives of the musical theatre's greatest composers used to be a staple of the Hollywood studios. Among the more famous were "Yankee Doodle Dandy," starring James Cagney as George M. Cohen; "Words and Music," with Mickey Rooney and Tom Drake as Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart; "Rhapsody in Blue," with Robert Alda playing George Gerswhin; and "Night and Day," in which Cary Grant impersonated Porter.
The genre disappeared with the decline of the movie musical. But the recent successes of "Moulin Rouge" and "Chicago" appear to have breathed new life into filmic tales of America's classic tunemakers. "It's a nice time to do a film with musical moments," Winkler Films head Rob Cowan told Variety. "The songs will help tell his story and there will be a whole bunch of singers coming in to do musical cameos."
The movie will spotlight 30 of Porter's songs. The composer penned such enduring musicals as Anything Goes and Kiss Me, Kate. Among the standards he created are "Night and Day," "Too Darn Hot," "You're the Top," "I Love Paris," "Easy to Love," "It's De-Lovely" and "I've Got You Under My Skin."
Past biopics have glossed over composers' lives, masking their ethnic origins, sexual orientation and troubled hearts. "De-Lovely" will reportedly explore Porter's homosexuality and his unorthodox marriage to socialite Linda Lee Porter. He died in 1964.
Kline last appeared on the stage in the 2001 The Seagull in Central Park. His films include "The Ice Storm" and "Dave."