Janis Joplin Biopic Finds Its Lead And Director

By Meg Malone

Exciting news today for Janis Joplin fans wishing to see the gravelly-voiced “Me and Bobby McGee” rocker grace the big-screen in her very own biopic.

According to a report by Deadline, Sean Durkin will direct “Joplin,” with recent Tony-award winning actress Nina Arianda playing the titular singer. The film is set to primarily portray Joplin in the final months before her tragic overdose death at age 27, but will include flashbacks as well.

Durkin directed last year’s well-received “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” which screened at Sundance and helped launch actress Elizabeth Olsen into the limelight.

In June, Arianda won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Vanda in “Venus in Fur” and has had small parts in a few films. Arianda’s performance in “Venus in Fur” was seen by Peter Newman, who is a producer on “Joplin.” “I’ve never in my life seen an actress walk on a stage and convey the duality of vulnerability with overheated sexuality, which is what Janis was all about,” Newman told Deadline, in addition to praising Arianda’s vocal talents.

Deadline goes into more depth about the development history of “Joplin,” which Newman said has been twelve years in the making. Newman has a valuable wheelhouse of material for the film, including the rights not only to Joplin’s songs (the film is set to feature 21 of them, Newman said), but also her backing band’s life rights and the rights to the books “Love, Janis” (letters written by Joplin that her sister published) and David Dalton’s “Piece Of My Heart.” Newman said production on “Joplin” is slated to begin next year and the film is set to be made for less than $20 million.

While “30 Rock” fans may still be curious for the Jenna Maroney off-brand version of the singer’s life, it’s nice to know we’re getting closer to a version that, you know, can actually use her real songs.

Ready to see Janis Joplin’s big voice take over a theater near you? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter.