By Craig Hubert | For a number of years, Hollywood has been clamoring to put the life of famed singer Janis Joplin on screen, with little to no success. Two competing projects have been developed side-by-side for the last decade, attracting a number of actors and directors who, due to delayed scheduling, script concerns, or simply loss of interest, have dropped out. A year ago, it seemed both projects, which stalled getting off the ground, had lingered long enough in development hell to be forgotten forever. But in the past few months, both films gained momentum, hoping to put their definitive version of this rock-n-roll tragedy on film.
Lee Daniels (“Precious,” “The Paperboy”) is the latest to jump on board, in talks to direct “Get It While You Can,” with Amy Adams attached to star, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Adams has been attached to the project since 2010, back when Fernando Meirelles (“City of God”) was set to direct. Although the Hollywood Reporter claims Renee Zellweger was attached at one point, they seem to be (understandably) confusing the many Joplin projects that have been in development over the years. According to a Rolling Stone article in 2010, the Zellweger project (titled “Piece of My Heart”) was a third project in the running about the singer, which fizzled out and seems to have now vanished completely.
This news comes just four months after Sean Durkin (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”) signed on to direct “Joplin,” with Tony-award winning actress Nina Arianda (“Venus in Furs”) set to star. This project — which at different times had Lili Taylor (who was attached to the film so long ago we couldn’t find an article to link to), Pink, and Zooey Deschanel, all lined up to play the singer — has a leg up on “Get Me While You Can” in that producer Peter Newman holds the rights to twelve of Joplin’s songs, along with the life rights to her backing band, Big Brother and the Holding Company. Without that, you end up with “Chunk of My Lung.”
Competing biopics are nothing new in Hollywood (this year, we have dueling films about Alfred Hitchcock; a few years ago, it was Truman Capote), so it will be interesting to see what happens if both these films go into production. “Joplin,” of course, has the songs that will seemingly make it the more authentic portrait. But who doesn’t want to see Lee Daniels lurid take on Joplin’s life?
Image: Lee Daniels/Andreas Rentz/Getty Images