Billy Zane transforms into Marlon Brando in first look at ‘Waltzing with Brando’ biopic

Another biopic, another remarkable transformation.

Billy Zane transformed into “The Godfather” star Marlon Brando for the new biopic, “Waltzing with Brando.”

Zane, 58, posted images from the set — where he looks identical to Brando — on his Instagram Thursday.

Billy Zane as Marlon Brando in “Waltzing With Brando.” Camille Razat/Instagram
Billy Zane and co-star Camille Razat. Camille Razat/Instagram

“#waltzingwithbrandothemovie #cannes the true story of Marlon as the “Godfather” of the environmental movement, spearheading sustainable, zero carbon architecture and design upon his private Island of Tetiaroa back in 1970!” he wrote in his caption.

Marlo Brando on the set of “Mutiny on the Bounty.” Corbis via Getty Images
Marlon Brando is the subject of a new biopic. Getty Images

The film, directed by Bill Fishman and based on Bernard Judge’s memoir called “Waltzing with Brando: Planning a Paradise in Tahiti,” is up for sale at Cannes Film Festival.

Billy Zane as Marlon Brando in the new biopic “Waltzing With Brando.” Billy Zane/Instagram

Zane made a surprise appearance at the festival’s red carpet premiere of “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” on Wednesday. He wore a black and white tuxedo and bowtie as he posed in front of photographers.

Billy Zane at Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2024. Getty Images
Billy Zane gives a talk at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2024. Getty Images

“Waltzing with Brando” is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the Academy Award-winning actor purchased the private island atoll Tetiaroa in the South Pacific, where he filmed 1962’s “Mutiny On The Bounty.” 

Brando fell in love with Tetiaroa and recruited Judge, an architect, to build a village, home and eco-hotel on the island.

Marlon Brando on the set of the 1961 movie “One-Eyed Jacks.” Getty Images

Tia Carrere, Jon Heder, Richard Dreyfuss, Alaina Huffman, Rob Corddry and Camille Razat round out the cast.

In an interview with Deadline, Zane, who is also a producer on the film, said the Brando project is “a love letter to Tahiti, and him and his passion.”

Billy Zane filming the Marlon Brando biopic. Billy Zane/Instagram
“Waltzing With Brando” filmed in the summer of 2023. Camille Razat/Instagram
A behind-the-scenes photo from the set of “Waltzing With Brando.” Camille Razat/Instagram

Zane also recognized how Brando was ahead of his time when it came to activism.

“Back then no one would touch causes. He championed civil rights, he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King,” the “Dead Calm” actor said. “He walked the walk for civil rights; he did it for Indigenous rights. What no one knows about is what he did for the environment as an activist and the foresight he had on what in fact would [become] a climate crisis.”

“It’s like no good deed goes un-stoned,” Zane added about Brando not being thanked for his noble accomplishments.

Billy Zane as Marlon Brando. Billy Zane/Instagram
Billy Zane as Marlon Brando. Billy Zane/Instagram

Brando won two Oscars out of eight nominations in his career. His second Oscar was for his role as Vito Corleone in “The Godfather.” But Brando skipped the 1973 Academy Awards ceremony because he was protesting Hollywood’s negative portrayal of Native Americans. Actress Sacheen Littlefeather accepted the award on his behalf.

He died at age 80 from respiratory and heart difficulties on July 1, 2004.