The documentary will be directed by Amir Bar-Lev, whose credits include “The Tillman Story” and “Happy Valley.”
Scorsese has been involved in music documentaries dating back to serving as an assistant director and editor on Michael Wadleigh’s “Woodstock” in 1970. He directed 1978’s “The Last Waltz” and 2011’s “George Harrison: Living in the Material World.”
Eric Eisner, Nicholas Koskoff and Justin Kreutzmann will produce. Production companies are Eisner’s Double E Pictures, Bar-Lev’s Axis Films and Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions.
In addition to Scorsese, exec producers include Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller and Rick Yorn. Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux will be the film’s music supervisor.
The band first performed on May 5, 1965 at Magoo’s Pizza in Menlo Park, Calif., as The Warlocks. The Grateful Dead disbanded in 1995 following the death of leader Jerry Garcia.
In 2010, Variety reported that Bar-Lev had come on board direct a Garcia biopic produced by Eisner and Bona Fide partners Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa.
Topper Lilien wrote the screenplay about the iconic frontman’s early life before joining the band that made him a household name, based on the Robert Greenfield book “Dark Star.”
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.
The yet-to-be-titled film will include never-before-seen footage of performances and interviews with surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir.
Alex Blavatnik is financing through his AOMA Sunshine Films.
“Millions of stories have been told about the Grateful Dead over the years,” Hart, Kreutzmann, Lesh, and Weir said in a statement. “With our 50th Anniversary coming up, we thought it might just be time to tell one ourselves and Amir is the perfect guy to help us do it. Needless to say, we are humbled to be collaborating with Martin Scorsese.”
“The Grateful Dead were more than just a band. They were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans. I’m very happy that this picture is being made and proud to be involved,” Scorsese said.
“I am ecstatic that this project was able to come together and look forward to finding the perfect distribution home for the film,” said Eisner.
The news was first reported by Deadline.com.