The Janis Joplin biopic rivalry just turned a shade of pink.
Alecia Moore, better known as the singer Pink, will make her screen starring debut as Joplin in a Penelope Spheeris-directed indie film that is eyeing a summer start date.
That would likely put it ahead of “Piece of My Heart,” the Joplin pic being developed by Paramount and Lakeshore as a star vehicle for Renee Zellweger.
The Spheeris-directed Joplin pic, which Spheeris scripted with Brad Vanderburg, will now be shopped for financing by producers Peter Newman and Bill Haney and exec producers Greg Johnson and Tim Disney.
The Pink buzz is building because her screen test has begun to circulate. She shot it last year, acting in two scenes and singing Joplin standards in two others. While a newcomer to acting, Pink replicates Joplin’s growling vocal style so convincingly that it was decided she will sing the songs live in the film. A soundtrack deal is now in the works with Artista, whose head, Clive Davis, signed Joplin to her first major record contract. Pink is inked to the label.
“After trying to make a picture on Janis’ life for 15 years, I’d call Alecia’s screen test the most gratifying moment in my film career,” said Spheeris.”She is the perfect age to play Janis from when she first came to California at 19 to when she died at 27.”
The producers were bullish they’d put financing in place quickly. Haney’s pic package comes with the Joplin family endorsement and exclusive publishing rights to Joplin staples like “Move Over,” “Mercedes Benz” and “Down on Me.”
The Par/Lakeshore rival once had exclusive rights to “Piece of My Heart” but now that is only on a non-exclusive basis, so that song could also be in the Spheeris film if her backers want to pay for it.
The Par/Lakeshore project, which has Anne Meredith scripting, doesn’t have a director but is driven by the passion of Zellweger, who grew up in Texas worshipping the singer. Spheeris thinks there is room for both projects.
Pink is currently on a European tour — she was in Glasgow Thursday and unavailable to comment — but Spheeris said the singer has squared the time necessary for a long rehearsal period for her screen debut.