You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New entrant in contest to make Joplin biopic

Thesp Theodore to play singer

Connecticut-based producer-director Joel L. Freedman and his Cinnamon Prods. have taken the lead in a race to make a feature film about singer Janis Joplin.

The indie company is going ahead with a film, budgeted in the $5 million range, that will star singer-actress Laura Theodore in the title role and is slated to go into production early next year.

Roy Scheider is in talks to play Joplin’s manager, Albert Grossman.

At least two other companies have had films in development for more than five years: Paramount-based Lakeshore Entertainment and Gotham-based Redeemable Features.

Lakeshore’s project — titled “Piece of My Heart” after the song on the album “Cheap Thrills” that launched her career — was at one point to be helmed by Marc Rocco (“Murder in the First”) with Melissa Etheridge to star. After both director and star fell out, helmer Gary Fleder (“Kiss the Girls”) was attached to direct with Brittany Murphy (“Clueless”) to star. But that package fell apart, and it remains unclear where Lakeshore’s production stands.

Redeemable’s Joplin project, picked up in turnaround from Sony, was written and will be directed by Nancy Savoca (“True Love”). Jonathan Demme has been attached to exec produce. Pic will star Lili Taylor (“I Shot Andy Warhol”). Budgeted in the $15 million to $20 million range, pic is in active development, with the producers expecting a year 2000 start.

Redeemable, in partnership with the Joplin family, owns Joplin’s life rights. The company also owns most of the publishing rights to 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.”

Lakeshore agreed to pay more than $1 million for the rights to “Piece of My Heart,” but the company lacks rights to many of the other major songs.

Freedman, who wrote his screenplay from interviews with friends of Joplin, executive produced “Brainstorm,” the MGM pic that starred Natalie Wood and Christopher Walken. He is also the producer-director of such films as “Treaty at Battle Mountain” and “To Protect Mother Earth” (both narrated by Robert Redford).

Theodore, a singer in her own right, received the Denver Drama Critics Circle Award for best actress in a musical for her rendition of Joplin in “Love Janis.”

Freedman says he has secured rights to some of Joplin’s lesser-known songs and many of the songs that she sang but didn’t write.

More Film

  • Fox Searchlight logo

    Film News Roundup: Fox Searchlight Launches Searchlight Shorts

    In today’s film news roundup, Fox Searchlight starts a shorts channel, Uma Thurman signs with ICM and Miramax signs animation exec Michael Lachance. SEARCHLIGHT SHORTS Fox Searchlight Pictures’ chairmen Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula have announced the launch of “Searchlight Shorts” as a collection of short films. The shorts are available on Fox Searchlight’s YouTube [...]

  • ImMature - cr: MX Player

    Indian Streamers Ramp up Original Productions

    Ever since global streaming giants Amazon Prime Video and Netflix entered the Indian OTT space in 2016, the conversation around original series has mostly revolved around them, thanks in part to market leader 21st Century Fox’s Hotstar’s circumspect attitude at the time about producing content. Netflix had great success with “Sacred Games,” while Amazon rode [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Hollywood Agents, Writers Guild Make Little Progress in Talks

    Leaders of Hollywood agencies and the Writers Guild of America made little progress in Tuesday meeting to negotiate proposed rule revisions to how agents represent writers. The WGA said after the meeting — the fifth since Feb. 5 — that talks would resume later this week but did not give a specific day. “The Agencies [...]

  • Village Rockstars

    Female Filmmakers Are a Growing Voice in India

    The Indian film industry has historically been a male-dominated one, but the winds of change are blowing across the country, albeit slowly. Better-served than the rest of the country is the Mumbai-based Hindi-language industry, where there are several active female filmmakers including Zoya Akhtar (“Gully Boy”), Reema Kagti (“Gold”), Leena Yadav (“Rajma Chawal”), Gauri Shinde [...]

  • Florence Pugh

    Scarlett Johansson's 'Black Widow' Movie Adds Florence Pugh

    “Black Widow’s” web may soon be growing. Sources tell Variety that Florence Pugh is in talks to join Scarlett Johansson’s standalone superhero film. Pugh has been on the hot list for this second lead role since last fall, but Marvel wanted to open up the field to other actresses at the beginning of the year. [...]

  • Mira Lesmana Sets up Indonesia Remake

    Mira Lesmana Sets Up Indonesian Remake of CJ's 'Sunny'

    Indonesia’s Miles Film and Korea’s CJ Entertainment are to co-produce an Indonesian remake of Korean hit “Sunny.” The film is a female-driven dramedy about a group of adult friends who reunite 20 years after high school. Directed by Kang Hyoung-chul, “Sunny” was one of the highest-grossing movies in Korea when it was released in 2011. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content