Andre 3000

All Is By My Side

With the stunning schedule that TIFF just released comes a nice surprise in the form of Andre 3000 (aka Andre Benjamin) grooving as Jimi Hendrix in John Ridley’s All Is By My Side. The resemblance is sort of insane, but there’s still a looming question of whether Benjamin has the acting chops to dive as deep into the character as is necessary to pull out a meaningful biopic. Adding to that, Ridley is a strange beast who is relatively untested as a feature director. He also wrote All Is By My Side, as well as earning a screenplay credit on 12 Years a Slave (which is also playing at TIFF), but this marks only the second movie he’s directed beyond a middling drama from the late 90s. The film follows Hendrix before he earned his fame and icon status. It co-stars Ruth Negga, Imogen Poots, Hayley Atwell, and a guy who looks exactly like young Keith Richards playing Keith Richards. There’s no telling what stories the movie will tell, but the lack of anyone playing The Beatles in the cast list makes me worried that my favorite Hendrix story — that Paul McCartney and John Lennon saw Hendrix cover Sgt. Pepper’s at a small club a day after they released the album — will be left out. Even if it didn’t make the cut, here’s hoping for an excellent film about a towering musical figure.  

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Jimi Hendrix

There are a lot of things that writer/director John Ridley’s upcoming biopic of rock great Jimi Hendrix, All Is By My Side, has going for it. The most obvious asset being its star, André Benjamin, who has shown potential as an actor, has a ton of experience being a musician, and looks pretty much exactly like Jimi Hendrix once he’s all dressed up in costume and letting his afro roam free. There’s one huge stumbling block that has a lot of people questioning what the point of making this movie is at all though: the Hendrix estate didn’t sign off on letting them use any of the musician’s music in the film. How do you make a movie about Hendrix’s music career without showing him playing any of his music? Rolling Stone has the scoop. Apparently the biggest strategy Ridley and company are employing when it comes to getting around the issue of not being able to use any of Hendrix’s copyrights is that they’re going to focus on an isolated part of the musician’s career, the period where he was just emerging onto the scene in ’66 and ’67. Or, as producer Sean McKittrick puts it, “This is the story of Jimi being discovered as a backup musician and how he went to London and became Jimi Hendrix.” In McKittrick’s opinion, focusing on just the early part of Hendrix’s career is smarter than making a movie that covers his whole life, because, “That would be like making a movie […]

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