Producer Peter Newman has wanted to get a Janis Joplin biopic together for quite a while now. For years it was at the top of his to-do list, but despite his efforts, actresses like Pink and Zooey Deschanel floated in and out of the project without it ever actually getting made. Things even got so bad that Newman gave up on the film for a while and pursued a career in academia; but two big developments have pulled him back into the world of film production and put this Joplin project back into development.
The first is interest from director Sean Durkin, who made waves with a phenomenal first film last year, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and who has signed on to put this film together with a modest budget of $20 million. The second is the revelation that Newman had when he saw actress Nina Arianda give a Tony-winning performance in Venus in Fur. Newman said of the experience, “I’ve never in my life seen an actress walk on a stage and convey the duality of vulnerability with overheated sexuality, which is what Janis was all about.” With a talented new director and ready to break young starlette on board, how could one not put this Joplin pic on the fast track?
Newman’s hand was especially forced given the wealth of exclusive material he’s been sitting on. Not only does he have the rights to 21 of Joplin’s songs (which Arianda will be recording versions of), but he also has exclusive control over the life rights and arrangements of Big Brother and the Holding Company, a collection of letters from the singer called ‘Love, Janis,’ and ‘Rolling Stone’ reporter David Dalton’s book ‘Piece of My Heart,’ which he wrote after traveling with Joplin the last six months of her life. Though their doesn’t seem to be a script or screenwriter locked down yet, the film is planned to focus on these last six months, along with brief flashbacks to earlier in the singer’s career.
The amount of material that’s going into developing this one sounds pretty promising, and this is all probably very exciting for Joplin fans, but—honestly—they had me at Durkin. How about you?
Source: Deadline Port Arthur