Bar-Lev plans to film adaptation for Grateful Dead frontman
The late Jerry Garcia is truckin’ to the bigscreen.Amir Bar-Lev, director of the docu “The Tillman Story,” has come on to direct a Garcia biopic produced by Eric Eisner and Bona Fide partners Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa (“Little Miss Sunshine”). Topper Lilien has penned the screenplay about the iconic Grateful Dead frontman’s early life before joining the band that made him a household name. Film is based on the Robert Greenfield book “Dark Star,” an oral history of Garcia from family, friends and colleagues. While the Grateful Dead has been the subject of previous documentaries, this project will be the first feature-length story about Garcia, who co-founded the band in 1965 and served as its lead guitar player, songwriter and one of its vocalists until his death in August 1995. Garcia was acclaimed for combining blues, rock and psychedelic elements with a mastery of improvisational guitar. He pointed to a 1961 traffic accident — in which he was thrown from the car — as the turning point in his commitment to music. “Topper Lilien’s daring script does justice to Garcia and steadfastly resists cliche,” Bar-Lev said. Bar-Lev’s other directing credits include the feature docus “Fighter” and “My Kid Could Paint That” along with co-producing “Trouble the Water.” Berger and Yerxa’s producing credits include “Little Children,” “Cold Mountain” and “Bee Season.” Eisner, son of former Disney honcho Michael Eisner, founded L+E Pictures in 2006 and produced “Hamlet 2,” which was acquired at Sundance in 2008 by Focus Features for $10 million.