Andre 3000, Jimi Hendrix And The Fates of Other ’60s Musical Biopics

Get out your Strats and strike up some matches: OutKast frontman and actor Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000) has reportedly been cast as legendary rocker Jimi Hendrix in All Is By My Side, a biopic centering on Hendrix’s time in England in the late 1960s. According to the Irish Film and Television Network, the film will begin shooting in Dublin and Wicklow, Ireland, next month.

Andre 3000 certainly has the energy, musical talent and creative spark to make for a convincing Hendrix. But it got us thinking about other ’60s rock icon biopics, both those that were (and were highly successful) and those that never quite came to fruition.

Jim Morrison: The first of the Forever 27 Club to get the biopic treatment was Jim Morrison, when Val Kilmer portrayed the madcap Lizard King in Oliver Stone’s The Doors (1991). The resemblance, truly, was uncanny.

Janis Joplin: Much like Jenna Maroney’s ill-fated turn as Janis Joplin… er, Jackie Jormp-Jomp, on 30 Rock, a Janis Joplin biopic has gone through multiple incarnations throughout the past decade or so, beginning in 2004 with The Gospel According To Janis, which starred P!nk as the blues-rock legend, with Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World, The Decline of Western Civilization) to direct. With a knowledgeable musical mind like Spheeris (who also co-wrote the script) at the helm and P!nk, who can actually do a pretty good Janis (roll clip), this would have actually probably been pretty great. Another film, Piece of My Heart, was also announced for that year and said to be starring Renée Zellweger. A later version of Gospel was set to star Zooey Deschanel, and the film still has a (very secretive) IMDb page. Additionally, in 2010, Fernando Meirelles announced a Janis biopic to star Amy Adams. So many Janises, so little screen time.

Johnny Cash: Like the much-loved Ray the year before, Walk The Line (2005) was generally praised by critics and audiences and earned star Joaquin Phoenix a Golden Globe, as well as an Oscar for Reese Witherspoon for her portrayal of June Carter Cash. And truly, if you close your eyes, dude does sound a whole lot like the Man in Black.

Bob Dylan: Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There was one of the most ambitious biopics of all time, telling the narrative and attempting to capture the character of Dylan using six different actors. Among the most notable performances in the film were Heath Ledger going rather meta (playing a famous musician in a biopic in a biopic about a famous musician… whoa) and a stunning interpretation from Cate Blanchett.

Jerry Garcia: For about a year, a biopic of the late Grateful Dead frontman looked like a thing that was actually going to happen. Acclaimed documentarian Ami Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story) was attached to the project, based on Robert Greenfield’s oral history, Dark Star. Fans threw around the usual suspects in terms of actor suggestions, most notably Jeff Bridges, natch. The film hit a snag in August 2010, however, when it was announced the filmmakers would not have the rights to any of Garcia’s music. Talk about harshing your mellow.

The Supremes: Although there’s not exactly a straight-up Supremes biopic, there have now been at least two films loosely based on The Supremes’ career: Dreamgirls (based on the musical of the same name) and the Curtis Mayfield-soundtracked Sparkle, which gets a remake this year starring American Idol alum Jordin Sparks and the late Whitney Houston. Although neither film is taken to be a precise representation of the group’s career, the Motown-inspired setting and soundtrack are ever-present.

Plus, any excuse to watch Jennifer Holliday straight-up belt "And I’m Telling You (I’m Not Going)" is a good one: 

Neil Young: This one isn’t actually happening, at least to our knowledge, although should there ever be one, fans are full of suggestions of who would play the Canadian songwriter, including Rainn Wilson and Billy Bob Thornton. One name that would most certainly be in biopic contention, however, would have to be Jimmy Fallon, who has been performing the likes of "Pants on the Ground" and "I’m Sexy and I Know It" in Young’s signature distinctive waver.

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