With Zooey Deschanel’s Janis Joplin biopic The Gospel According to Janis in limbo, it’s good to know another 60’s musical icon is getting their silver-screen dues. According to The Hollywood Reporter (via Stereogum), Eric Eisner, Albert Berger, and Ron Yerxa (the latter two responsible for Election and Little Miss Sunshine) have signed on to produce a biopic on Jerry Garcia’s life based on Robert Greenfield’s oral history book Dark Star. Topper Lillien has been tapped to write the screenplay. And no, there’s no word yet on who’ll play Mr. Garcia.
The controversial bit (‘cause there always is one), is that the film will focus not on the singer’s rise to hippe stardom with the Grateful Dead in the 70s or his fall into heroin-induced diabetic coma in the 80s, but his pre-Dead days in California. As The Hollywood Reporter has it, the untitled film will focus on “a period that includes a stint in the military, a life-changing car accident and his first creative encounters with members of the Northern California music scene including future Dead bassist Phil Lesh.” Though this may be the least well-known part of Jerry’s life and possibly the most worthy of further exploration, we wonder how marketable it really is. Outside the band’s long-time fans (whom we’ve heard are called “Deadheads”), the casual fan may have little patience for an extended look into Garcia’s early years. Still, Jerry Bery is a long-overdue for a biopic—whatever the focus.