Jerry Garcia Documentary in the Works

Film will feature excerpts from in-depth 1987 interview

January 5, 2012 12:45 PM ET
jerry garcia 1980
Jerry Garcia poses for a photograph in London.
David Corio/Redferns

The late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia will be the subject of a forthcoming feature-length documentary. Filmmaker Malcolm Leo, who has previously made movies on Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys, will build the doc around a three-hour interview he conducted with Garcia in 1987. Leo and co-producer John Hartmann, who has managed bands such as the Eagles and Crosby Stills & Nash, hope to have the film ready by spring.

Last summer, during Jerry Garcia Day at the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park, the filmmakers shot a ceremony that included members of the Dead legacy band Furthur singing the national anthem and a world-record-setting performance of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" played by more than 40,00o fans on kazoos.

Leo and Hartmann (whose brother was the late Saturday Night Live comedian Phil Hartman) have secured critical music rights to tell Garcia's story, something that has eluded other potential filmmakers over the years. In 2010, another group of producers announced plans to make a biopic of Garcia's formative year's based on Robert Greenfield's oral biography, Dark Star.

Garcia died of a heart attack at age 53 in 1995.   

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