Another Janis Joplin Biopic In The Works

Add another contestant to the Janis Joplin biopic sweepstakes.

Connecticut based filmmaker Joel L. Freedman is the latest filmmaker to develop a movie based on the late singer’s life. According to “Variety,” the film will star Laura Theodore, a singer-actress who appeared in a production of “Love, Janis,” a play based on letters written by Joplin. Roy Scheider (“Jaws,” “The Myth Of Fingerprints”) is in talks to play Joplin’s manager, Albert Grossman.

Freeman has secured rights to some of Joplin’s lesser-known songs, as well as many of the songs that she sang but didn’t write.

There have been two other Joplin film projects in the works over the past few years: one, “Piece Of My Heart,” from Lakeshore Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, was originally to be directed by Marc Rocco (“Murder In The First”) and star Melissa Etheridge. However, both Etheridge and Rocco later dropped out of the production (see “Melissa Etheridge
Passes On Joplin Film”
).

Gary Fleder (“Kiss The Girls”) was then named as director, and Brittany Murphy (“Clueless”) was set to star (see “Janis Joplin Biopic Finally Gets Green Light” ). “Variety” reports that that package fell apart, and the status of the production is uncertain. The other project, authorized by Joplin’s family, is a film version of “Love, Janis,” and is slated to star Lili Taylor (“The Haunting,” “I Shot Andy Warhol”). That film was in turnaround at Sony Pictures at one point and has since been picked up by Redeemable Features. That film is budgeted in the $15 million to $20 million range, and producers are hoping to start filming in 2000.

Redeemable, in partnership with the Joplin family, owns the rights to Joplin’s life story and has also secured the publishing rights to much of Joplin’s music, as well as all of the performance rights to her songs, including “Mercedes Benz” and the Kris
Kristofferson-penned “Me and Bobby McGee.”