AceShowbiz - Rapper and actor Yasiin Bey has backed out of a new Thelonious Monk biopic after learning the jazz great's estate officials disapprove of the project.
The star was attached to the project when Monk superfan Peter Lord Moreland announced his production will begin next summer (2022) on Wednesday, July 21, but a day later the star, formerly known as Mos Def, has exited the film.
His decision comes hours after Thelonious Monk's son, T.S. Monk, emailed a statement to Pitchfork, insisting he was not behind the project, which he called "totally unauthorized!"
"I hate the script and I control the music in Thelonious' catalogue," T.S. Monk wrote. "There is no involvement by anyone in the Monk family with this project, and we actually condemn the effort."
Responding to the missive on Thursday in a video message, Bey said, "Let me be clear, if the Monk estate is not happy with it, if Mr. Monk the Third is not happy with it, then neither am I."
"To be clear, I was given every indication by the production company that the family was on board, which was one of my primary questions, and that the music [was cleared]... I took them at their word, and clearly that wasn't the case."
But Bey is still hopeful about the possibility of portraying Monk on the big screen some day - with the Monk family's blessing, "Can't lie, I'm super excited still if there's an opportunity to tell this story, but in the right way, and only with the estate's approval and full involvement and acceptance," he added.