Elon Musk’s life is hardly a secret. Everything he has done over the last decade at least has been under the scrutiny of the public eye. His actions play out in real time, and are rigorously documented on social media, in the news, and in a recent tell-all biography written by Walter Isaacson. In spite of that, A24 has inked a deal with The Whale director Darren Aronofsky to direct an Elon Musk biopic based around Isaacson’s book.
Rising to prominence with the fast-cut twisted drug epic Requiem For A Dream, Aronofsky has gone on to direct some of the greatest films of our generation, including 2008’s The Wrestler, 2010’s Black Swan, and 2017’s Mother! The man is truly talented, but to make this biopic a compelling one will take everything he’s got.
Isaacson shadowed Musk for several years to write the recently-published biography of the wealthiest man on earth. Musk’s is certainly a story made for the movies, beginning with an abusive childhood and ending with a disconnected meme-obsessed billionaire making huge life decisions purely on vibe alone. Drama surrounding his business decisions, social life, and relationships certainly abound. Here’s what our cohorts at the AV Club had to say about the announcement:
Again, there’s a lot of material here available for adaptation. Plus, Musk’s story aligns with some of Aronofsky’s previous interests: a guy who may or may not be spiraling into drug use (Requiem), who is obsessed with his own success possibly to the point of madness (Black Swan), whose kid apparently hates him (The Whale). When it comes to artist and muse, this might actually be a perfect fit.
This kind of thing isn’t without precedent, of course, as thriller director David Fincher turned the story of a man with the personality of a wet noodle, Mark Zuckerberg, into one of the greatest films of all time with 2010’s The Social Network. As great as Fincher is, I think most of what made that movie great was Aaron Sorkin’s phenomenal script, and a flawless leading performance by Jesse Eisenberg. Anything short of that level of greatness, and this Musk story will surely fall flat. Musk has somehow an even less empathetic narrative than Zuckerberg, and a much more public life.
Who on earth will convincingly play the Musk man himself in the movie? Lars Mikkelsen’s recent run as Grand Admiral Thrawn in the Disney+ series Ahsoka could put him in the running. Cilian Murphy certainly has the talent to bring Musk’s bizarre personality to life. Pulling Edward Norton’s Musk-aping play in Netflix’s Glass Onion, it would definitely be interesting to see his take on the genuine article.
Regardless, weird nerds everywhere will go see this on opening night, and it’ll be nominated for a thousand awards.