Another biopic on a black public figure we can scratch off my list of 50+ Biopics In Limbo (read that list HERE if you haven't).
As you may recall… Andre 3000 has long been attached to star in a Jimi Hendrix project, going all the way back to 2004, which the Hughes brothers were once supposed to direct; and since then, Lenny Kravitz and Anthony Mackie have also been said to be attached to Hendrix projects, though neither has materialized.
Most recently, last summer, actress Hayley Atwell revelead in an interview with Esquire magazine for their August issue, that she would next be co-starring in a Jimi Hendrix biopic with Andre 3000 playing the lead role, which, as I noted in that post, likely meant that Andre 3000's Hendrix film wasn't dead, and actually might be getting closer to being a reality.
Just like Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye, in recent years, there’ve been numerous attempts to bring Jimi Hendrix’s life-story to the theatrical screen. But securing rights to the man’s story has proven to be quite the challenge with Experience Hendrix, the gatekeeper to the musician’s estate, which is run by his stepsister, Janie Hendrix.
Remember my post from August 2009 on the announced attempt by Legendary Pictures, in correlation with Woodstock’s 40th anniversary, where Hendrix's performance of The Star-Spangled Banner was a seminal moment of the original 1969 festival…
A writer had already been hired to work on the script, hoping that it would be approved for production by the Hendrix estate, which has been very protective of Jimi's story – and rightfully so.
And then in December of 2009, we reported on another Hendrix movie being in the proverbial pipeline, titled Slide, and described as "a fictionalized account of what happened during Hendrix's 'lost weekend'."
The legendary story goes, in brief… in September 1969, Hendrix was the subject of a hoax kidnapping, orchestrated by his manager.
However, in the fictionalized Slide, the story will revolve around two gangsters, desperately trying to get away from a mob boss they double-crossed, who inadvertently kidnap Hendrix, then at the height of his career and drug addiction. Along the way, Hendrix ends up teaching one of the gangsters about honesty, and Hendrix learns to clean up his act.
Will this be a comedy, drama, thriller…?? "Quirky" was the word used to describe it.
Producer Carol Lewis likened the project to Peter Bogdanovich's The Cat's Meow, a 2001 dramedy film I haven't seen, calling it more of a road movie than a biopic. Apparently, none of Hendrix's music will be used, nor will any of his family be featured, and so, obtaining rights from the Hendrix estate won't be an issue.
I haven't heard anything about either project since initial announcements were made 2 years ago.
Fast-forward to today, and it looks like it's now Andre 3000's project to lose, as IFTN reports exclusively that the rapper/actor is indeed set to star as Jimi Hendrix in a new movie that will begin filming in Ireland later this month, to be titled All Is By My Side, which will follow Hendrix’s years in England, from 1966 to 1967, when he put together his debut album, Are You Experienced.
The feature film will be written and directed by John Ridley (primarily a screenwriter; this will be his second feature film directorial effort).
The project is currently in pre-production in Wicklow, with principal photography set to begin in three weeks time in Dublin and Wicklow. The shoot will last six weeks in total.
All Is By My Side will be co-produced by Irish producer Tristan Orpen Lynch for Dublin-based production company Subotica Entertainment alongside Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly’s Darko Entertainment and Britain’s Matador Pictures. The three companies will produce the movie under the banner of Watchtower Film Productions.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the 2000 TV movie on Hendrix that starred Wood Harris.