There’s probably no project more difficult to mount in Hollywood than a music biopic. Not only do you have to distill the life of a musician into a reasonable running time, there is also a web of music clearances, estate approval and other myriad legalities that need to be navigated before you can get a film off the ground. And no musician has faced a rockier ride to the big screen than Jimi Hendrix.
Late last winter, it was reported that Paul Greengrass was set to go with his own take on the influential rocker’s life with Anthony Mackie set to star. Unfortunately, the estate of Jimi Hendrix, which is heavily protected by his family members, didn’t grant their approval. Legendary Pictures chief Thomas Tull gambled on packaging the story and talent first, rather than reaching out to the notoriously prickly Experience Hendrix, but wound up getting burned anyway. But this is just one of a few projects that have been developed over the years. About a year and a half ago, a fictional road-trip movie that just happened to feature Hendrix (but none of his music) was said to be in development, but that has pretty much gone nowhere. Meanwhile way before that, a biopic was being developed with none other than one-half of Outkast, the eccentric Andre 3000 attached to star — we figured that project was long left for dead but it looks like we’re wrong.
Chatting with Esquire, Hayley Atwell — the Brit actress who will make her biggest movie appearance yet in the forthcoming “Captain America: The First Avenger” — reveals she’s eyeing a role in the Andre 3000-led movie that seems to be very much alive.
“Next up is possibly a Jimi Hendrix biopic — an independent film with Andre 3000 from OutKast playing Jimi Hendrix. But I don’t know, really. The Atwell team is like, Let’s just wait and see…,” going on to indicate that the project is still being considered. We’re mostly just amazed that it’s still in development, which leads us to believe that Experience Hendrix may have warmed to the idea or at least hasn’t rejected it outright.
Of course, there’s no word yet on who Atwell may play, but if we were to guess, we think she might be looking at the part of Linda Keith, a model and girlfriend of Keith Richards at the time, who introduced him to The Rolling Stones‘ manager Andrew Loog Oldham and producer Seymour Stein (who both declined to work with him), and eventually to manager/producer Chas Chandler who helped launch his career. She is also credited with introducing him to psychedelic drugs.
Anyway, we’re glad the wheels are still turning on this one and it looks like some kind of casting is happening. Let’s hope more details surface soon.