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Johnny Cash Documentary Film to Chronicle Folsom Prison Concert

January 2018 marks 50th anniversary of legendary show recorded at infamous California prison

Johnny Cash

A brand-new documentary film about Johnny Cash and his Folsom Prison concert is currently in the works.

Gai Terrell/Redferns

He’s been the subject of an Oscar-winning biopic, now the legendary life and career of Johnny Cash will be profiled in a new documentary. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the as-yet-untitled film will be directed by Thom Zimny, an award-winning filmmaker whose previous works include the HBO Films’ documentary Elvis Presley: The Searcher, as well as a number of documentaries on Bruce Springsteen.

The upcoming film, a collaboration between Imperative Entertainment and executive producer Frank Marshall (Jurassic World), will have the full support of Cash’s estate. According to a statement from the filmmakers, the project explores Cash’s music and biography through the iconic Folsom Prison concert, which took place 50 years ago this week and formed the basis of the multi-million-selling Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison LP.

“While the linear narrative of the Folsom Prison performances will anchor our film, each song in the set list will open a door into a nonlinear presentation of Cash’s emotional, musical and personal development,” says Zimny.

Cash’s life story was previously depicted in 2005’s Walk the Line, which traced his Arkansas roots and his rise to stardom in Memphis, along with his first marriage and early courtship of his second wife, fellow country star June Carter, portrayed by Oscar winner – and Nashville native – Reese Witherspoon. The film opens and closes with a dramatic re-enactment of the 1968 Folsom Prison concert.

Cash biographer Michael Streissguth spoke to the Man in Black’s daughter, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, for a 2008 documentary about the historic January 13th, 1968, concert. In the previously unpublished interview, Cash notes that when listening to the album, “Partly what comes to mind is how scary my dad was sometimes. He could be very dark and scary and not very good at impulse control, to put it mildly. So some of that comes up and then his essential nature as an artist – the risk-taking and the rawness and the willingness to put all of the emotion, dark or light, on the line, nothing held back. It’s just so admirable.”

A release date has yet to be announced for the new documentary. 

In This Article: Johnny Cash

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