In the brief time available to us before America’s biopic-ready musician supply is depleted, Hollywood remains determined to make a movie about Jimi Hendrix—or rather, several. As the long-gestating, Andre 3000-starring, John Ridley-directed All Is By My Side is making runs at various film festivals, a competing project with Anthony Mackie starring as the legendary guitarist is also getting underway, following years of delays.
Originally developed in 2010 as Crosstown Traffic with Paul Greengrass in the director’s chair, the film was cancelled after Hendrix’s family objected to the script. Those objections have been worked out, however, and the film is back on with screenwriter Ol “Dirty” Parker (best known for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) directing. Parker’s wife, Thandie Newton, is set to co-star in an unspecified role, while Noomi Rapace is in talks for another—probably Hendrix’s girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham, whom the actress resembles. And Mackie’s patience over the past four years has been rewarded, as he remains in the title role.
Although the hatchet has been buried with the Hendrix estate, there’s no word yet as to whether the estate’s blessing extends to allowing the use of Hendrix’s actual music. It’s a sticking point that Ridley’s film—which could not secure the rights—worked around by focusing on the singer’s early years. But Parker’s film will focus on the last nine days of Hendrix’s life, so either he’ll die of a mysterious case of laryngitis that also prevents him from playing the guitar, or Mackie’s Jimi Jormp-Jomp will be serenading us with songs like, “Do You Have The Necessary Experience?,” “Child Who Practices Voodoo,” and “That Hazy Purple Thing.”
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