Unlikely actress to portray Janis Joplin in new biopic

07.09.12 7 years ago 5 Comments

Janis Joplin’s life is closer than ever to getting the big-screen treatment.

Tony-winning thesp Nina Arianda (“Venus in Furs”), who is relatively unknown as a screen actress despite recent supporting turns in films including “Midnight in Paris,” “Win Win” and “Tower Heist,” has signed on to star as the legendary blues singer in a new film to be directed by Sean Durkin (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”). The film will focus on the last six months of Joplin’s life, with intermittent flashbacks to her early career.

Titled “Joplin,” the project’s producers have the added advantage of holding exclusive rights to 21 of the singer’s most famous songs, which Arianda will sing herself. Production is slated to begin early next year on a budget of under $20 million.

As mentioned by Deadline, which broke the story, actresses including Zooey Deschanel, Renee Zellweger and Amy Adams have all been attached to star as Joplin over the last several years in separate projects, though none have so far managed to get off the ground.

In addition to exclusive rights to a good portion of Joplin’s back catalog, the film’s producers also hold life and song arrangement rights to her original band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, as well as rights to the books “Love, Janis” (a collection of the singer’s letters) and the 1991 book “Piece of My Heart,” a revision of Rolling Stone journalist David Dalton’s 1972 multimedia memoir “Janis.” The latter book chronicled the last few months of Joplin’s life through a collection of interviews, photos, lyrics, sheet music and more. A wealth of recorded interviews and Joplin’s memorable appearances on “The Dick Cavett Show” will also inform the biopic.

The exclusive rights to all of the above material came with a reported $2.5 million price tag.

Janis Joplin was found dead of a heroin overdose on October 4, 1970. She was 27 years old at the time.

Are you looking forward to the biopic? Anyone here familiar with Arianda’s work? Sound off in the comments!

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