Real-life events have served as a source of inspiration for Hollywood many times over the years, and that’s only set to continue in 2015. There are plenty of biographical films headed our way over the next year, from high-profile releases like American Sniper to controversial music dramas like Straight Outta Compton. Here’s look at 9 true stories set to hit the big screen in 2015.
1. American Sniper, January 16
The upcoming Clint Eastwood-directed war drama is adapted from Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s autobiographical book of the same name, which details how the Texas native became one of the most lethal snipers in U.S. military history. Bradley Cooper stars in the film as Kyle, who became publicly known for holding the record highest number of sniper kills for an American and was eventually shot and killed at a shooting range in his home state in 2013. Though American Sniper opens in limited release in December, it expands further in January.
2. Red Army, January 23
The documentary film, directed by Gabe Polsky, follows the Soviet Union’s dominance of ice hockey during the Cold War. Told from the perspective of the team’s captain Slava Fetisov, the movie explores the ruthless tactics of coach Viktor Tikhonov and the strong link between sports and politics in the Soviet Union from the 1950s to its deterioration in the 1990s. Red Army debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September and began its limited run in November, but is slated for an expanded theatrical release in January.
3. Against the Sun, January 23
The upcoming drama flick follows the true-life tale of three Navy airmen during WWII who are forced to ditch their plane during a scouting mission and must survive while on a rickety rubber raft in South Pacific. The three men must rely on each other to find food and fuel, as well as keep their sanity and their lives as they battle against shark attacks and increasingly harsh weather. Directed by Brian Falk, the movie stars Tom Felton, Garret Dillahunt, Jake Abel, and Nadia Parra.
4. In the Heart of the Sea, March 13
Chris Hemsworth stars alongside Cillian Murphy and Tom Holland in this biographical thriller film, based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 book of the same name. The story chronicles the sinking of the whaleship Essex in 1820, which goes down after getting rammed by an enraged 85-foot-long bull sperm whale. The crew is left shipwrecked at sea for 90 days over a thousand miles from land. The whale vs. ship story reportedly served as one of the inspirations behind Herman Melville’s famous novel Moby Dick.
5. Straight Outta Compton, August 14
Directed by F. Gary Gray, the biographical drama revolves around the rise and fall of the Compton, California rap group N.W.A — including famed members Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella. The film shows how the five young men translated their dangerous childhood experiences growing up into brutally honest music that ended up revolutionizing the industry and making a major impact on pop culture. Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, O’Shea Jackson Jr. Aldis Hodge, and Neil Brown, Jr star as the five members of the group while Paul Giamatti plays their manager, Jerry Heller.
6. The Walk, October 2
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the upcoming biographical film follows the story of Phillippe Petit, the French aerialist, juggler, and entertainer who recruited a handful of colleagues to help him string a wire between the Twin Towers so he could walk across it. The movie, adapted from Petit’s 2002 novel Reach the Clouds, stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the main road, alongside Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, and Ben Schwartz. Though the story was also depicted in the Oscar-winning 2008 documentary Man on Wire, The Walk dramatizes the plot and will portray the story in IMAX 3-D and 3-D, adding new depth to Petit’s death-defying stunts.
7. James Donovan movie, October 16
The still-untitled project, based on the true story of James Donovan, is set to reteam Saving Private Ryan duo Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Hanks will star as Donovan, the American attorney enlisted by the CIA during the Cold War to negotiate the 1962 release of Francis Gary Powers, the U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down over Russia two years earlier. The project has been garnering attention thanks to its A-list creative team. Aside from Hanks and Spielberg, acclaimed writers the Coen Brothers are on board to pen the script.
8. Queen of the Desert, 2015
Directed by Werner Herzog, the upcoming epic biographical drama chronicles the events of Gertrude Bell’s life, a explorer, traveller, archaeologist, and political officer who became highly influential to the British imperial policy-making and to the development of the Middle East at the dawn of the twentieth century. Nicole Kidman is set to star in the lead role, alongside a notable ensemble cast including Robert Pattinson, James Franco, and Damian Lewis. The movie is expected to hit theaters in 2015, but no exact release date has been confirmed just yet.
9. Testament of Youth, 2015
Based on the acclaimed memoir of the same name, the World War I drama ells the story of Bera Brittain, a young woman who looks to goes against societal expectations by attending Oxford. But when both her fiancé and brother enter the war, she postpones her studies to serve as a nurse in London, Malta, and France. After the war, she returns to Oxford to read history and later becomes a writer, feminist and pacifist. The film, starring Alicia Vikander as Bittain and Kit Harinton as her fiancé Roland Leighton, debuted in October at BFI London Film Festival Review to positive reviews. It will premiere in the U.K in January and is also expected to hit stateside theaters some time in 2015, but an exact release date has not yet been confirmed.