After great success with 2014’s Oscar-winner The Imitation Game, it looks like The Weinstein Company is getting back into the biopic business, now developing a project based on the life of renowned ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq. Madeleine Sherak is producing via her shingle, My Bench Productions, along with Lone Survivor EP Jason Shuman.
The currently untitled picture will focus on Le Clercq’s prominence in the 1950’s, her passionate love triangle with two of the most prolific choreographers of her time, and her devastating bought with polio which paralyzed her from the waist down, cutting short her career. Jennifer Malloy and Lauren O’Connor are overseeing for the Weinstein Co.
Considered one of the greatest ballerinas who ever performed, Le Clercq memorized audiences and choreographers alike with her svelte, elongated physique and her fluid, graceful lines. After spending her childhood studying with Mikhail Mordkin and then the School of American Ballet, she attracted the attention of George Balanchine, one of the 20th century’s eminent choreographers. At only fifteen, Le Clercq was invited to perform with him and the New York City Ballet company.
Le Clercq emerged as the foremost dancer of her day and captivated viewers worldwide for more than ten years, not to mention the hearts of Balanchine and prestigious theater producer/director/choreographer Jerome Robbins. A muse to both men, Robbins and Balanchine competed for her affection and became engaged in fervent romances with the enchanting dancer. Balanchine, Robbins, and Merce Cunningham all created roles specifically for her and she even went on to marry Balanchine.
Whilst touring with the NYC Ballet at the height of her career, Le Clercq was stricken with polio and became paralyzed. Eventually the use of her arms and torso returned to her, but she remained paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of her life, abruptly ending her promising career at the age of 27. Told she would be lucky to live to forty, Le Clercq triumphed over her tragedy and found salvation teaching ballet at the Dance Theater of Harlem, living to be seventy-one.
Le Clercq recently was the subject of an acclaimed documentary, 2014’s Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq, which used archival footage and actor reenactments of written exchanges between Le Clercq, Robbins, and Balanchine to profile her career and life. There have been ballets, poems, and fashion lines designed for and inspired by Le Clercq.
The Weinstein Co. is next gearing up to release Quentin Tarantino’s hotly anticipated western The Hateful Eight, which will hit screens this December, and the Bradley Cooper-led drama Burnt, which drops later this month. They recently wrapped on another biopic, this time focusing on McDonalds creator Ray Kroc, titled The Founder, which stars Michael Keaton. Currently, the Weinstein Co. in the midst of production on Gold, which is led by Matthew McConaughey and Bryce Dallas Howard.
Clark Allen | Associate Editor