Andre Benjamin Learned to Play Guitar Left-Handed for Jimi Hendrix Biopic ‘All Is By My Side’
Andre Benjamin was honored to accept the role of Jimi Hendrix in the guitar legend's upcoming biopic 'All Is By My Side.' But the OutKast star wondered if he'd have to give up the gig, after realizing he'd need to learn how to play the guitar left-handed.
"It’s almost the same as walking backwards," Benjamin told ShortList, explaining that when he took the job, the filmmakers believed they could just film him playing right-handed and flip the image to match Hendrix's actual playing style. "But that meant we were going to have to change everything in the scene, which was really expensive. We got this information just a couple of days before I was supposed to go and shoot it. I was kind of bummed about it," he admitted.
"I didn’t know if I could pull it off. At one point during the meeting, I was not going to do it. I was going to say, 'The movie’s not gonna work, because I don’t want to f-- Hendrix up and make him look terrible,'" Benjamin said. "I hadn’t practiced the left-hand thing once."
Ultimately, however, his prodigious musical talent pulled through. "I just had to dive in with the few days I had before shooting. I think we had a week or two. I had to just practice every day left handed, until I could get it to a place where I felt comfortable enough to do it," Benjamin recalled. "But at one point I thought the movie was falling apart."
Well-received by critics during its summer theatrical run in the UK, 'All Is By My Side' is scheduled to begin a limited theatrical engagement in the U.S. on Sept. 26.