It’s been a long time in the works, but it looks like we’re finally going to get that Paul Greengrass-directed biopic of Jimi Hendrix, and one that actually features music by the legendary guitar god.
According to Deadline, The Bourne Supremacy director is getting a second crack at a movie that has been a passion project for quite a while. The trade reports that Greengrass and Legendary Pictures have, after a number of years, finally reached an accord with the Jimi Hendrix estate, who are notoriously picky and stingy when it comes to licensing his signature songs, and are once again moving forward. They even hired a writer, and one with experience working in this wheelhouse, enlisting 8 Mile scribe Scott Silver to handle the script.
Greengrass and Legendary were working on a Hendrix biography all the way back in 2009, and even had Anthony Mackie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) lined up to play the lead. There’s no word on whether he’ll climb on board once again, though with what appears to be an increasing role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing Falcon, he might be a bit busy for the foreseeable future.
That plan fell apart, however, a few years back, when the production was unable to secure the rights to any of Hendrix’s music. You may remember that the 2013’s Jimi: All Is By My Side, which starred Andre 3000 from Outkast, didn’t feature any of his actual songs, not even covers, and let’s just say that there was an important element that was very obviously missing from that motion picture.
When Legendary approached the Hendrix estate earlier, they did so with a script in hand, written by Godzilla’s Max Borenstein, but the family was worried that a movie would hurt the sales of his back catalog. Greengrass and producer Thomas Tull subsequently stopped working on their movie, heeding the family’s wishes, though the folks behind All Is By My Side kept trucking.
The Hendrix biopic wasn’t the only film Greengrass had problems getting off of the ground. He was working on a Martin Luther King Jr. film called Memphis, which had Forest Whitaker attached to star, though it was taking a long time to get rolling, and with Selma, perhaps that’s been put on the back burner for now, maybe forever. While it looked like this project was similarly dead in the water, now it appears they have the blessing from the Hendrix estate and we could be seeing this before too terribly long.
There’s not specific timetable given for when this could happen, but given Greengrass’ strong feelings and dedication to this story, it might be sooner rather than later. He has his latest Bourne movie to deal with, which once again sees Matt Damon in the lead role, but after that wraps up, this could be next up, though there is still a deal to finalize.