By Dan Solomon
In the celebrity-driven business of movie making, true artists like George Gallo seldom seek the spotlight. A celebrated painter, musician, writer and director, Gallo’s renaissance-man skill set would make Shakespeare blush.
When the industry learned the story of bodybuilding pioneer Joe Weider was headed to the big screen, all eyes were on who would fill some of the film’s coveted roles. Trade publications have already praised the cast assembled under the watchful eye of ambitious Producers Steve Lee Jones and Scott LaStaiti
From Robert Forster and Tyler Hoechlin to Julianne Hough, Aneurin Barnard, Tom Arnold, DJ Qualls, Steve Guttenberg and Victoria Justice – there’s no shortage of experience and star power to help bring this remarkable story to life. But make no mistake about it, the decision to hire Gallo to direct may prove to be the movie’s biggest score.
Gallo has been around. In Hollywood circles he’s credited for creating a new career path for Robert De Niro when he wrote MIDNIGHT RUN, the box office hit that gave way to the tough-guy actor’s comedic stylings in a role miles away from Vito Corleone. As a screen writer, Gallo has been lauded for his ability to maneuver from one genre to the next with keen sensibility. As the director of the Weider biopic, Gallo appears completely in his element.
“This film is about a visionary who viewed the human body as sculptures from the Gods.” explains Producer Steve Lee Jones. “I needed a director who was a real artist, and George is a reknown painter who sees the world as art, much like Joe. His genius is evident every day on set. Soon the world will see.”
As a co-executive producer on the film, I’m afforded the privilege of spending time on set. While marveling over the wildly talented cast and crew, I am drawn to the artistry and tactical precision of the film’s director. Gallo’s ability to see each moment through the lens of an artist is what makes him a joy to observe. With talented Cinematographer Michael Negrin (Director of Photography) by his side, each scene is more stunning than the next, carefully navigating the layers of a period piece spanning nine decades.
In the years prior to his death, I often told Joe Weider that his life story would make for a helluva movie. His response was typically to dismiss the idea, fearing that any attempt to tell his story would completely miss the mark. Joe knew his journey was about far more than muscle and he doubted anyone would go the extra mile to understand it. Thanks to a beautifully crafted Andy Weiss/Brad Furman screenplay and the artful touch of a brilliant director, Joe can sleep easy. His story is in very good hands.
Also See: Full Cast & Crew at IMDB
Joe Weider Story Coming to the Big Screen
Gallo to Direct Tyler Hoechlin in Bodybuilding Pic
Video: Behind the Story that Inspired the Movie