BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Foxx takes homeless musician role
Jamie Foxx
Foxx won the best actor Oscar in 2005
Actor Jamie Foxx is to star in a film based on the true story of a homeless musician with schizophrenia who dreams of playing the Disney Concert Hall.

The Soloist is adapted from a series of articles by journalist Steve Lopez, who met violinist Nathaniel Anthony Ayers on the streets of Los Angeles in 2005.

It marks Foxx's return to the musical biopic genre after his Oscar-winning portrayal of Ray Charles in 2004.

British director Joe Wright is making the film, says the Hollywood Reporter.

His previous film credits include Pride and Prejudice and the forthcoming Ian McEwan adaptation Atonement, both starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy.

Unlikely friendship

The story of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers was originally recounted over the course of 12 articles in the Los Angeles Times.

Lopez, who has a column in the paper, befriended the musician after discovering him playing the violin.

"I liked the way his violin music turned the clatter around downtown LA's Pershing Square into an urban symphony," wrote Lopez in his first article.

Readers were moved by Mr Ayers, who had lived on the streets for 35 years after suffering a breakdown while studying music at the famed Juilliard School in New York.

'Relentless cruelty'

Over the course of a year, Lopez described the struggle to convince Mr Ayers to move into an apartment, and the "relentless cruelty" of his schizophrenia.

Eventually, the musician was invited to visit the Walt Disney Concert Hall, where he stood on the stage and played his violin.

The story has been adapted for the big screen by Erin Brockovich screenwriter Susannah Grant, and will be released by DreamWorks Pictures.

Ayers' sister has likened her brother's tale to that of pianist David Helfgott, whose life story was also turned into an Oscar-winning film, 1996's Shine.

Lopez is due to release a book about the unlikely friendship, also called The Soloist, next year.

Musical award for Ray star Foxx
26 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Actor Foxx to be Oscar presenter
19 Jan 06 |  Entertainment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific