Earliest News


July 7, 2003

The movie was finally listed in Variety. Looks like it’s really happening after all these years. No listing for the screenwriter.

Film Production chart Title: BEYOND THE SEA Status: Filming In The Future Production Start: Monday, Sep 01, 2003 Studio: MDP Worldwide/Trigger Street Prods. Location: England, Germany Primary Actors: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman, Bob Hoskins Executive Producer: Stewart Hall, Joanne Horowitz Producer: Arther Friedman, Kevin Spacey, Bernie Morris, Mark Damon, Sammy Lee Director: Kevin Spacey Cinematographer: Seamus McGarvey

July 6, 2003 

The cast and crew for the film slowly takes shape. Kevin has hired Seamus McGarvey as the director of photography. Some of his credits include last year’s The Hours, John Cusack’s High Fidelity, Emma Thompson’s HBO film Wit, and the Kate Winslet/Jeremy Northam film Enigma.

July 4, 2003

I’ve added an interview that Kevin did for GQ magazine 3 years ago. He talked about why he was wanting to do this film.  I remember a few months after this article was written, a letter to the editor of the magazine said that Kevin needed a kick in the pants instead of a hug. Article includes 3 pictures.

Kevin Spacey Needs A Hug

June 30, 2003

A critic who’s actually recommending Kevin’s un-filmed movie! Kevin must be on a career up-swing. You have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the article to see Kevin’s name. I sincerely hope we don’t see this same review in a year only with Kevin’s name in place of this other guy.

Theater Review: Mack The Knife By Frank Scheck

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – There really should be a moratorium on the impersonation of dead music stars, which is threatening to become a theatrical phenomenon of extreme proportions.

The idea works well enough if the presentation is enlivened with real theatricality, as with the recent “Janis,” or if the performer doing the impersonation is truly talented in his own right, as was the case with Chester Gregory II in “The Jackie Wilson Story.” But this low-budget off-Broadway show purporting to celebrate the life and music of the late Bobby Darin is a true time waster that smacks of a vanity production.

“Mack the Knife … the Life and Music of Bobby Darin” is co-written, directed by and stars one Chaz Esposito, who has apparently been misinformed that he somehow resembles Darin in both looks and voice. Neither is true, and more importantly, he lacks the sufficient charisma to at least provide a hint of what made this hugely successful pop star so special.

Esposito plays the singer at various stages in his career, basically re-creating his nightclub acts, thus delivering a succession of Darin hits interspersed with comedic, self-deprecating patter. Every once in a while, a “narrator” (Larry Frenock) pops onstage to deliver various biographical tidbits. More distracting, if certainly more authentic, are the chatty video appearances by Steven Blauner, Darin’s former manager, and Wayne Newton, a lifelong friend.

During the course of the brief show, Esposito delivers in underwhelming fashion a succession of the singer’s hits, including “Splish Splash,” “Dream Lover,” “Beyond the Sea,” “If I Were a Carpenter” and, of course, the title song, sung not once but twice. Listening to these generic renditions is bad enough, but we also are forced to endure a series of vintage songs that Darin sang in his act, such as “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey” and “Baby Face.”

The entire enterprise is far more exploitative than reverential, leading one to wonder if some sort of legislation isn’t required to protect dead celebrities from such emulators. As if to quell any such qualms, the press release assures us that the show has the endorsement of the Bobby Darin estate. In any case, one would be well advised to wait for Kevin Spacey’s upcoming film treatment of the singer’s life.

Presented by Splish Splash Prods.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

June 27, 2003

Spacey takes on Darin role in ‘Sea’ By ARMY ARCHERD (Wed., Jun. 25, 2003) GOOD MORNING: Kevin Spacey once admitted to me, “If I waited any more I might be too old” to play Bobby Darin. Well, the wait’s now ending. He’s in London on pre-production for the biopic “Beyond the Sea,” which rolls in September in England and at the Babelsberg Studios in Germany. Mark Damon says 80% of the film will be shot on studio sound stages. The Babelsberg stages were used by Roman Polanski for “The Pianist.” U.K. exteriors will double for the U.S. — Dover for Big Sur, etc. Now in London, Spacey’s also performing duties as new artistic director of the Old Vic … Casting has started for the Darin pic. In addition to director-star Spacey, Kate Bosworth (“Blue Crush”) will play Sandra Dee and John Goodman’s set to portray Darin’s longtime manager Steve Blauner, who continues to represent the Darin estate. Blauner tells me “My whole purpose is to keep (Bobby’s) name alive.” He’s met with Spacey several times — and candidly admits he’s told Kevin not to play the role and direct simultaneously. However, he did help by retrieving nine original Darin song arrangements long-buried in storage and gave ’em to Spacey, who’ll sing ’em a la Darin.

(Spacey fan site owner comment here: I wonder if Blauner candidly told Kevin to get another actor to portray Darin in scenes opposite Kate Bosworth? No way he’s going to be able to hide a 24 year age difference! I get chills just picturing it. You’re going to surprise us with an unknown to be the 20ish Darin, aren’t you Kevin? I’ll bet you are.)

June 15, 2003

Friday, June 13, 2003 By Roger Friedman Kevin Spacey Ready for ‘Mack the Knife’ Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey has always wanted to play crooner Bobby Darin on screen. Never mind that Spacey is now 45 years old — eight years older than Darin was when he died. Spacey’s biggest obstacle with the Darin project was not age, but singing. Spacey considers himself a crooner, and wanted to sing Darin’s songs himself in the film. Unfortunately, Dodd Darin — the son of Bobby and Sandra Dee — didn’t see it that way. He wanted a biopic of his dad with the original tracks. An impasse occurred and all looked bleak. But then the announcement of the Darin/Spacey movie came a couple of months ago and folks wondered: Who gave in? The answer is: Dodd Darin. It turns out that Spacey, who’s no fool, brought in famed record producer Phil Ramone. Together the pair cut a few of Darin’s tracks, I’m told, such as “Mack the Knife” and “Beyond the Sea.” They played them for Dodd Darin in sort of a blindfold test. “And he couldn’t tell the difference between Bobby and Kevin,” my source says. Spacey also ran a read-through of the Darin script with a bunch of actors, so the Darin family could get a feel for how the movie would depict Bobby. Apparently that worked out as well, because the Darins gave their OK and now the film is headed toward a possible fall production start.

June 3, 2003 –

From the Daily News’ Rush & Malloy column dated June 1, 2003:

Kevin Spacey can’t get enough of Michael Bublé. The Oscar winner stopped by the Blue Note twice last week to hear the handsome singer, whose run ends tonight. The two share a passion for Bobby Darin, the late crooner Spacey is due to play in a movie…

May 15, 2003 – 

Stolen from the KSML:  Goodman, Hoskins to croon with Spacey Staff reporters in Cannes John Goodman and Bob Hoskins are in final talks to join the cast of Kevin Spacey’s Beyond The Sea being sold in Cannes by MDP Worldwide. Spacey is directing the film, a biopic of legendary crooner Bobby Darin, and also playing Darin, with Kate Bosworth starring as his wife actress Sandra Dee. Goodman is playing Darin’s manager Steve Blauner and Bob Hoskins is playing his brother-in-law Charlie Maffia in the movie.

April 16, 2003 – 

Bosworth Making Splash in Bobby Darin Movie

By Chris Gardner

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Kate Bosworth, who surfed into cinemas last year with “Blue Crush,” is in final negotiations to play Sandra Dee in “Beyond the Sea,” the Bobby Darin  biopic starring Kevin Spacey.

Shooting is scheduled to begin in late summer.

Spacey has long been shepherding the project about the late screen star behind such hit tunes as “Dream Lover,” “Mack the Knife,” “Splish Splash” and “Beyond the Sea.”

The film, described as a nonlinear biopic, will reportedly cover the 1940s-70s, with a close look at Darin’s relationship and marriage to Dee.

The two met on the set of “Come September” in 1960 and were soon married — he was 24, and she was 16. Their marriage lasted until 1967, and during that time, they had one son, Dodd Darin. Bobby Darin, who was dedicated to becoming a star at a young age because of a serious heart problem, died in 1973 after open-heart surgery.

Since the babes-in-bikinis picture “Blue Crush,” Bosworth has gone on to film back-to-back roles in the upcoming “Wonderland” for Lions Gate Films and the DreamWorks romantic comedy “Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!!!” Her other recent credits include Roger Avary’s “Rules of Attraction.”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

And from Ananova: 

Kate Bosworth is to star alongside Kevin Spacey in Beyond the Sea.

She will play the role of Sandra Dee in the movie about singer Bobby Darin.

The film will cover the 1940s to 70s, with a close look at his relationship and marriage to Dee.

It will see Spacey sing songs including Dream Lover, Mack the Knife, and the title tune.

He bought the rights for the film from Warner Brothers two years ago, but it has been five years since he first expressed an interest in bringing Darin’s life to the screen.

Shooting on the project is scheduled to begin in late summer, according to Hollywood Reporter.com.

March 31, 2003 – 

Interesting .. differing stories on Sandra Dee’s opinion of who should portray her in the new movie. This was reported at the IMDB:

Sandra Dee Battles with Kevin Spacey Bobby Darin’s widow Sandra Dee is locked in a bitter battle with actor Kevin Spacey because she doesn’t want Drew Barrymore to portray her in a biopic of her late husband’s life. Spacey bought the rights to star as the legendary ’50s crooner, who died at the age of 37. But, according to American tabloid the Star, problems arose when Charlie’s Angels  star Barrymore was approached by Spacey to take on the role of young Dee in Beyond The Sea. Outraged Dee reportedly thinks Barrymore is far too “worldly” and feels Legally Blonde beauty Reese Witherspoon would come across much more innocent.

And this was from the Chicago Sun-Times several weeks ago, Michael Sneed column:

March 18, 2003


Dee data

Actress Sandra “Gidget” Dee told the San Francisco press when the film about her late ex-husband, singer Bobby Darin, is made, she’d like actress Drew Barrymore to portray her. “She has that little round face and those big eyes, and she has a very sweet quality,” chirped Dee.


Thanks to Margie and anonymous tipster.

March 28, 2003 –

There’s not much to report these days so I’ll just put in this bit from the March 27th Cindy Addams column:

For reasons unknown, there’s a Bobby Darin renaissance. A movie’s upcoming and so is the book “Me and Bobby D,” by Bobby D’s childhood friend, jingle-writer Steve Karmen.

Karmen tells about Bobby growing up in The Bronx, about his parents wanting him to be a doctor, about this street-kid driven to escape the ghetto. He tells about the pre-“Mack the Knife” and “Splish Splash” seedy saloons, with drunks at the front table and closing act strippers. It’s even a good seat in the house to Bobby in bed.

Bobby’s lady Connie Francis calls this memoir: “Accurate, painfully true, hard-hitting. It brought closure from the heartache and emptiness I’ve lived with for over 40 years.”

March 25, 2003 – 

I was looking through my scrapbooks last night and I noticed that Kevin has been talking about the Bobby Darin project for so long that there are bits taken from magazines in the Ordinary Decent Criminal and Big Kahuna sections.

March 11, 2003 –

The web owner of bobbydarin.net has made a page for all of the Spacey fans who may not be familiar with Bobby Darin. It can be found here:


Thank you, Linda.

March 3, 2003 –

MDP Worldwide Teams With Kevin Spacey to Star and Direct “Beyond the Sea”

February 24, 2003 –

Read a message from Bobby Darin’s son, Dodd Darin, about Kevin and the making of Beyond The Sea:


Thanks, Linda (owner of bobbydarin.net/bobbydarin.com)

February 20, 2003

Screen Daily

Kevin Spacey is going back behind the camera to direct the story of Bobby Darin, the legendary crooner who died tragically of a rheumatic heart in 1973. Spacey will also star as Darin in the film which is being fully financed by MDP Worldwide, Mark Damon’s sales and financing outfit which also backed The United States Of Leland, produced by Spacey’s Trigger Street Productions in which he also had a supporting role.

Spacey made his directorial debut in 1996 with Albino Alligator starring Faye Dunaway, Matt Dillon and Gary Sinise. He recently starred in Alan Parker’s The Life Of David Gale which played in competition at Berlin earlier this month.


Spacey to Direct, Star in Bobby Darin Biopic By Army Archerd and Cathy Dunkley

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) – After five years of planning, Kevin Spacey is darin’ to play Darin.

The actor will star in, direct and produce “Beyond the Sea,” a movie about the life of singer Bobby Darin, set to begin shooting in June.

Producer Mark Damon’s MDP Worldwide has come aboard to fully finance and produce with Spacey’s production shingle, Trigger Street. MGM is in negotiations to acquire North American distribution rights to the film, though no deal has yet been inked.

“Sea” had once been planned as a Warner Bros. release, but Spacey bought the rights from Warner two years ago. Among the executive producers on the film is Arthur Friedman, who has worked on the project for 12 years.

Spacey told Daily Variety on Wednesday that the budget will be “considerable.”

The film covers the 1940s through the 1970s, but as described by Spacey, “it’s not a linear story. And not a docudrama.”

Details of the film’s soundtrack must still be worked out, as must rights issues surrounding Darin’s original recordings. But Spacey will sing songs including “Dream Lover,” “Mack the Knife,” “Splish Splash” and the title tune.

“Kevin’s passion for ‘Beyond the Sea’ is overwhelming and has consumed us as well,” Damon said.

It’s been five years since Spacey first expressed an interest in bringing Darin’s life to the big screen.

“They say I’m too old,” he lamented at that time — Spacey was then 38. Darin died at age 37 when his heart gave out following heart surgery.

Asked if he’s too old now, Spacey laughed, “Bobby always looked a little older — but if I waited any more I might be too old.”

Spacey proved his ability to imitate Darin on the “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” album, singing “That Old Black Magic” as a tribute to the performer. Spacey repeated when he sang during his hosting stint on “Saturday Night Live.”

Three years ago, Spacey said he planned to take six months off to devote to singing ahead of the Darin biopic, but added he would do the film “only when it can be done the right way” (Daily Variety, March 14, 2000).

On Oct. 24, 2000, Spacey brought down the house when he sang two songs a la Darin before an all-industry party created to involve young Hollywood in the Motion Picture and Television Country House & Hospital.

Since then, the actor has continued to work with Darin’s conductor, Roger Kellaway.

Spacey has continually emphasized that he wanted the Darin family to know he would treat the project “with respect.” He sent letters to that effect to Darin’s wife, Sandra Dee, and their son, Dodd. They will be portrayed in the film, which will have “many other good roles as well,” Spacey said.

Darin was told that he would not live past his late teens due to a severe heart condition. He set out to prove he could become a showbiz legend by age 25 and in fact became a big star in the music industry as well as finding success in nightclubs and in films.

Over the years, the “Sea” project attracted writer Lewis Colick and writer-director James Toback, among others.

Spacey said the film won’t conflict with his new job as artistic director of the Old Vic in London, a job that doesn’t start until fall 2004.

“Sea” marks the second film jointly produced by Trigger and MDP after “The United States of Leland,” which Spacey also starred in and directed. It was acquired by Paramount Classics at this year’s Sundance Film Festival~

Thanks for the links, Borislava.

December 2002/January 2003

Several news items about Kevin and his new web site have mentioned his plans to make the Bobby Darin biopic. Seems to be ready to go.

LA Times – December 22, 2002 But can he dance? — “I want to talk to you as a singer,” Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey told the crowd gathered to honor Phil Ramone, the legendary recording industry producer-engineer, at the Mancini Musicale at UCLA’s Royce Hall. “Phil and I have been working for the past year on my preparation to play Bobby Darin in a film,” he said. And then, head cocked and fingers snapping, he broke into an a cappella version of “I Found a New Baby” a la the ’50s pop idol. “Without Dr. Phil — the real Dr. Phil — I wouldn’t have had the guts to do that,” Spacey said at the August fund-raiser.

L.A. Times, So. Cal Living section, August 25 2002

Mancini Musicale “I want to talk to you as a singer,” Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey told the crowd gathered to honor Phil Ramone, legendary recording industry producer-engineer, at the Mancini Musicale at UCLA’s Royce Hall. “Phil and I have been quietly working for the past year on my preparation to play Bobby Darin” in a film, Spacey said. “And I’ve got to tell you what it’s like to be in a studio with Phil Ramone–it’s like having a great chef, a rich interpreter, your daddy, a psychiatrist … this is what he’s probably done for every artist he has worked with in his extraordinary career.” Then Spacey, head cocked and fingers snapping, broke into an a capella version of “I Found a New Baby,” a la ’50s pop idol, Darin. “Without Dr. Phil–the real Dr. Phil–I wouldn’t have had the guts to do that,” Spacey said.

May 3, 2002

Mack the Knife Kevin Spacey set to play Bobby Darin in biopic Kevin Spacey is preparing to play Bobby Darin in a biopic backed by Warner Bros. Arthur Freedman is producing the story from a script by Frank Carcaterra who created Sleepers for Barry Levinson. Filming on Mack The Knife has been held back until next spring when Spacey ends his sabbatical from movie work. Drew Barrymore has been pencilled in to play Darin’s actress wife Sandra Dee.

Darin had two number ones with Dream Lover and Mack The Knife in 1959. He died at the age of 37 following open heart surgery. An insider told Ananova: “All that remains to be seen is whether Kevin wants to sing. He’s nervous about the idea. “He’s keen on taking lessons but we may have to go with some of Darin’s original material.”

BTS Update: Kevin tells reporters during Shipping News interviews that his Bobby Darin movie is set to go now.

October 16, 2001

Kevin Spacey’s Bobby Darin Pic In Chaos – FOXNews.com,

The shark has big teeth, dear. It’s about to chew up and spit out the late famed singer Bobby Darin.

Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, who is about to hit movie theaters in K-Pax and The Shipping News, has dropped out of making the big-screen version of the musical Chicago with Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones so he can play Darin on the screen. However, getting from point A to point B on this one sounds nearly impossible.

It seems that there’s another Darin movie somewhere out there — and it may begin shooting before the end of this year. And that’s where things get really confusing and interesting.

Spacey, who recently wowed the audience at TNT’s John Lennon tribute with his rendition of “Mind Games,” wants to sing the Darin hits like “Beyond the Sea” and “Mack the Knife” himself. However, an old clause in the contract for rights to Darin’s life story specified that only the original recordings could be used.

Darin’s rights are controlled by his son, Dodd, whose mother is Hollywood legend Sandra Dee. I am told that Dodd Darin also has the right to approve the licensing of certain songs that are co-published by him and the songwriting team of Mike Stoller and Jerry Lieber.

See how complicated this gets?

At one point, when the Darin movie was under option at Warner Bros., a lot of famous screenwriters took a whack at it. Among them: James Toback, Paul Schrader and Paul Attanasio. The only one anyone really liked, according to Steve Blauner, Darin’s old agent and friend, was by Lewis Colick (author of the new John Travolta effort, Domestic Disturbance). Barry Levinson had planned to direct the movie, but that idea eventually died on the vine.

This thing’s for certain: Kevin Spacey is focused on playing this part. “This is a very important movie for Kevin,” a friend of his tells me. “He considers it his most important project ever. He’s very involved in it personally.”

Bobby Darin, if you don’t know, died in 1973 after complications from heart surgery. He was 37 years old and had been married to and divorced from Sandra Dee, with whom he had Dodd — the couple’s only son. This pair’s modern-day equivalent would be like matching the aforementioned Zellweger with someone like Enrique Iglesias. Darin had a long, huge run as the top singer of his day, driving female fans crazy and making a name for himself as a sort of junior Sinatra.

Making Darin’s story all the more tantalizing for Hollywood is this tidbit: like Jack Nicholson, he eventually discovered that the woman who raised him, whom he believed was his sister, was really his mother.

But now Blauner and Darin Dodd may be prepping their own Bobby Darin film. Although there are no details, Spacey and his production company might be beaten to the punch. In this other version, for which the songs have been approved, there will be no singing by the actor playing Bobby Darin. The voice will be the original.

Blauner is blunt about Spacey’s plans. “I think he’s a great actor, but he can’t sing. I can’t be part of that. Bobby used to say, People hear what they see, and I think that’s what happened on the Lennon special.”

Blauner also points out that Spacey is now older than Darin was when he died, and that Spacey could only play a young Darin “shot through gauze.” Blauner declined to say who he wanted to play Darin instead of Spacey.

In the end, though, the whole business comes down to who gets the rights to the songs. Without them, a Bobby Darin movie would be impossible. (This is what happened to Merchant Ivory’s Surviving Picasso when the artist’s estate forbade the filmmakers from using the real art.)

Blauner says that Lieber and Stoller, who administer the Darin songwriting publishing rights, recently got a message that Spacey was interested in the songs. So far no decision has been made, but Spacey singing Darin’s songs is probably not something we’re going to see very soon.

Kevin Spacey’s manager and publicist, by the way, will only say that the Darin story is in development.

– Roger Friedman

June 14, 2001 – Update!

E! Online Gossip – Ask Marilyn

Dear Marilyn: What’s going on with Kevin Spacey’s Bobby Darin movie? Is it still happening? –   Velvet S., Indianapolis Dear Velvet: I’m told the Darin biopic has the green light–after years of development. In fact, vocal and lip-synch coach Bob Garrett has been paged to help Spacey perfect his technique for the project.

The actor, who’s 42, lobbied for months to land the role of the singer, who died at age 37 following open-heart surgery. Spacey finally convinced producers Bob Rehme, Arthur Friedman, Moctezuma Esparza and Robert Katz he wasn’t too old for the part.

As for when it will hit the screen–or how they’ll make Spacey look younger than his years–all involved are being extremely closemouthed.


I can’t wait for this one! This project has been tossed around longer than Kevin’s hair has been falling out. But it looks like Kevin will finally have the opportunity to portray the legendary crooner/actor Bobby Darin. There had been rumors that the producers wanted a younger actor, like Tom Cruise (??? He ain’t exactly young anymore either!) but Kevin has convinced them that he can play the part. No announced plans for filming dates, directors, co-stars or anything else really, but I can dream, can’t I?  Based (I think) on the book by Dodd Darin.