“We have long wanted to get this movie made, and now that Jared is on board, we’re just thrilled,” said producer Toby Emmerich. Emmerich, best known as a producer of the “Final Destination” series, has also written the screenplay.
Leto’s publicist released a statement saying, in part, “Jared literally could not be happier to take on this new role. He is quite certain that he would have gotten along with Bob Ross famously. As many of you know, Jared is himself an accomplished artist, dabbling in many media, and is very, very excited to tackle this challenging role and be able to show off his own artistic talent. And rest assured his recent winning of a much-deserved Oscar will not in any way diminish the work and effort he will put forth in doing this role. Namaste.”
The role of Ross’ second wife, Jane, will be played by Clare Bowen of TV’s “Nashville.” Bowen will also have a number of songs on the film’s soundtrack.
Kevin Dunn has been cast as a gruff, unlikeable PBS executive who Ross has to win over with his painting style and general low-key demeanor.
Denzel Washington has signed on to portray Ross’ Army sergent while stationed in Alaska during the 1960s and 70s, where he often said he honed his quick, unique style of painting.
“A lot of people think this cat was just a great painter and this really down-to-earth, mellow dude,” Emmerich said. “But in truth, he was a very complex, moody, typical genius artist. Not unlike Kanye West. It’s gonna be a fun ride. A really fun ride.”
Filming is set to begin in Atlanta, which will double as Alaska and Muncie, Indiana, where Ross filmed the majority of the episodes of his painting program, “The Joy of Painting.”