Whether we like it or not, Elon Musk has made himself one of the most ubiquitous public figures of the 21st century. From Tesla and SpaceX to his relationship with Grimes to his highly-publicized purchase of Twitter and his embrace of troubling far-right wing talking points, the 52-year-old South African billionaire is both a mogul and a celebrity. To borrow a quote from Sarah Silverman in the movie Popstar, Musk is “everywhere…like oxygen, or gravity, or clinical depression.”
With that in mind, it’s almost surprising that a prestige Musk biopic hasn’t come around til now, when Variety reported on November 10 that Darren Aronofsky would be making a film about him for A24. Casting for biographical films is always the subject of much debate, and with Musk still very much present in our daily lives, the speculation has already taken off, unlike certain SpaceX rockets. Musk himself has already given the project his seal of approval, writing “Glad Darren is doing it. He is one of the best” on the social-media platform no one but him refers to as “X.”
Though Musk is an idiosyncratic figure, there is some precedent for how the film might look. First, it’ll be based on Walter Isaacson’s 2023 authorized biography Elon Musk. Isaacson, a prolific biographer, wrote books about Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Steve Jobs, the latter of which served as the basis for Danny Boyle’s excellent 2015 film about the Apple founder, which was noteworthy for its clever structure–the whole film hinged around three pivotal press conferences and how they connected both to the company’s trajectory as well as Jobs’ personal life.
Not knowing exactly how Aronosky wants to frame his film makes imaging the movie, which we have to imagine will be called Musk, difficult, but GQ has taken a crack at providing some casting ideas for key characters in the controversial businessman’s life. For what it’s worth, we’re hoping the movie ends in a Warrior-style MMA fight between Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, even if that won’t be happening in real life.
Fresh off a key supporting role in Killers of the Flower Moon, Jesse Plemons seems like a stellar option. He shined as a sinister tech guy in one of the best episodes of Black Mirror and a captivatingly smarmy CEO in the underrated Windfall. With one of the most varied filmographies of any recent character actor, Plemons is clearly capable of capturing the ambition and egotism of Musk, while also injecting the film with a handful of humorous moments, too. Credit to Reddit for this one, but Mads Mikkelsen would be excellent if Aronofsky wanted to focus primarily on present day-Musk. Brendan Fraser, who won an Academy Award this year for his work in Aronofsky’s polarizing The Whale, has also been floated, and this would certainly be the kind of meaty role that’d fit his career renaissance.