Jerry Garcia biopic in the works

Image copyright Paramount Image caption Jensen Cameron will direct the film. J Jonah Jameson will be there with a change of aviators – Jonah Hill is set to play iconic Grateful Dead musician Jerry…

Jerry Garcia biopic in the works

Image copyright Paramount Image caption Jensen Cameron will direct the film.

J Jonah Jameson will be there with a change of aviators – Jonah Hill is set to play iconic Grateful Dead musician Jerry Garcia in a new biopic, according to an ongoing story in the Hollywood Reporter.

Deadheads around the world will greet the news with some degree of trepidation.

The cinematic nature of the Grateful Dead, who are seen as a crucial precursor to psychedelia, might give the impression that movie-making is a rare pastime at their preferred location, San Francisco.

However, the Straight Outta Compton actor won’t be tackling Garcia on a day-to-day basis, as director Judd Wahlberg is said to be working on “much more authentic” sequences which will show what the former rockstar went through off the stage.

Hill, who was cast by Mr Wahlberg in HBO’s Entourage last year, will also be producing the film – backed by Netflix – with his OddLot Entertainment partner Dan Levine.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hill was cast as hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons in the HBO show in 2018

Garcia died in 1995 after a seven-year battle with cancer, aged 52.

“It’s gonna be very different from other biopics. They’re gonna show you why he made the decisions he made, how those things led him to where he’s at now.

“Why he changed his look, why he wore that wig and that hat and had all that tats. Why he played Phil Lesh, you know? This is kind of the story of Jerry as a performer and an individual.”

Despite his family-oriented legacy, Garcia had a dark side. The story of his and several of his bandmates’ infamous 1978 acid test during a heavily armed performance at Chicago’s State University remains shrouded in mystery, and again the lack of footage of the rockers in the era doesn’t augur well for the live action sequences in Mr Wahlberg’s forthcoming movie.

The Grateful Dead themselves aren’t too bothered, given they’ve already had their spin on the big screen with the late-’70s-set documentary Dig! in 1988.

Any film focusing on Garcia must give props to his group’s loyal followers, for they can testify to being rowdy, but very much unlike the image of refined fans – much like the Supremes who used to open for Cliff Richard.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Garcia died in 1995 at the age of 52

For the “children of the Dead” – the most well-known of which is Jerry Garcia Third, from 1987 – the frontman might be referred to in a good way, although they will find that question difficult to answer without details, as the band has never recorded a posthumous album.

A new, paid-for tribute is being staged in aid of Garcia’s children, Egan and Megan. It takes place on 27 January at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, according to Grateful Dead Third Records.

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