Amy Adams is set to play Janis Joplin in a forthcoming biopic titled Janis Joplin: Get It While You Can, which will be directed by City of God director Fernando Meirelles. “It’s definitely true,” a rep for the actress tells Rolling Stone. No studio has signed on to release the movie, which will go into production in 2011, but Fox Searchlight has owned the script — written by musician-turned-screenwriter Ron Terry — for years. Expect the movie to be a high-end production: Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, the two masterminds behind The Twilight: Eclipse saga, are set to produce the film.
This isn’t the first time Hollywood has tried to bring Joplin’s story to the silver screen. Two other biopics have long been in the works, although they appear to have stalled. The Squid and the Whale producer Peter Newman has been trying to make The Gospel According to Janis for a decade and at various points had enlisted Zooey Deschanel, Pink and Lili Taylor to play the lead role. The producer has also gained most of the rights to use Joplin’s music and is collaborating on a script with Rolling Stone veteran David Dalton, who wrote a biography on the singer. In 2003, Renée Zellweger was attached to another biopic titled Piece of My Heart, but that movie has since been scrapped.
Newman tells Rolling Stone he and his associates bought the entire Joplin estate 10 years ago. “My partners and I spent over seven figures acquiring a majority of the essential life rights and music rights to what is essential to make a movie about Janis,” he says, adding, “That’s not to say other people couldn’t make a movie about Janis using some over her lesser material or ignoring a lot of major characters in her life.”
Newman says he is in negotiations with a major director and hopes to have one lined up by the fall. “If that person signs on, we’re off and running. We’ve got everything we want other than the right director. I’m not ready to make a movie that’s inadequate and wouldn’t get finished completely. I’m trying to do something respectful toward Janis. “
While Newman says, “It’s perfectly fine if they can figure out how to get Fernando Meirelles and a good script and the money,” he ultimately believes his film would be “respectful toward Janis” and the definitive onscreen document of her life.
Adams has explored biopic territory before. She portrayed writer Julie Powell in Julie & Julia, the 2009 movie partly based on the life of chef Julia Child.