Music legend John Hammond gets film treatment

Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:54am EDT
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By Jay A. Fernandez

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Ocean's Eleven" producer Jerry Weintraub wants to write you a song about the man who discovered Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

That would be John Hammond, the Columbia Records talent scout and record producer whose influence from the 1930s through the 1970s delivered an entire roster of music icons, such as Pete Seeger, Billie Holiday, Leonard Cohen and Stevie Ray Vaughan, to wider audiences. In his early days, Dylan was dubbed "Hammond's folly" on account of his limited success.

Also a critic, social reformer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Hammond contributed to the integration of Benny Goodman's band and lured Count Basie out of Kansas City.

Weintraub has purchased the rights to Dunstan Prial's biography, "The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music," and hired Stanley Weiser (Oliver Stone's "W") to adapt it into a feature script. Weintraub will produce.

Weintraub, who recently published his memoirs, returns to theaters in June with the Columbia remake of "The Karate Kid."