A while back I told you about that Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Andre 3000, All is By My Side, directed by John Ridley, the interesting thing about which was that the Hendrix estate wasn’t giving the filmmakers permission to use any of Jimi Hendrix’s music – much like Jenna’s fictional Janis Joplin biopic on 30 Rock, Jackie Jormp-Jomp. Luckily for the filmmakers, Hendrix was famous for playing a lot of covers of other people’s songs, and the plan is apparently to focus on those, with Andre 3000 singing them himself.
The film – set in London in 1966 and 1967 – will include Benjamin’s new versions of covers that Hendrix performed during those years, shortly before the release of his landmark debut, Are You Experienced. Audiences will see Benjamin singing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (which Hendrix famously performed in a London club with members of the Beatles in the audience), “Wild Thing,” “Hound Dog,” Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy” and Elmore James’ “Bleeding Heart,” plus two songs, “Future Trip” and “Driving South,” that Hendrix played as a backup musician for Curtis Knight and the Squires.
If the movie were to include songs Hendrix wrote, like “Purple Haze” or “The Wind Cries Mary,” the producers would have needed permission from Experience Hendrix, which owns the copyrights to the material. But according to McKittrick, the film was always set in Hendrix’ pre-fame era, so neither he or his team ever approached the Hendrix estate. “This is the story of Jimi being discovered as a backup musician and how he went to London and became Jimi Hendrix,” says the producer. McKittrick says that focusing on early stories about Hendrix – like the times he jammed with Cream and met Eric Clapton – is preferable to a biopic about Hendrix’s full life story. “That would be like making a movie about Kurt Cobain,” he says. “We all know how that story ends.”
A spokesperson for Experience Hendrix tells Rolling Stone that the company had no idea the movie would include non-Hendrix songs. “They want to make a Jimi Hendrix movie without Jimi Hendrix music,” says the estate representative. “It would be like making a movie about Lincoln without being able to use the Gettysburg Address.” [RollingStone]
So, what do you think, is a Hendrix movie without Hendrix music more like a movie about Kurt Cobain, or is it more like a movie about Abraham Lincoln? And please, remember to phrase your answer in the form of an analogy about a guy who got shot in the head.
[Andre 3000 as Jimi, with Hayley Atwell on the set in Ireland. via RollingStone]