Michelle Williams in Talks to Star as Janis Joplin
Variety reports that the film is spearheaded by producer Peter Newman, who's been trying in vain to get a Joplin biopic to the big screen for more than 20 years. Despite owning the rights to portions of the singer's catalog — as well as some of her correspondence — it's persistently stalled. Several years ago, Broadway veteran Nina Arianda was on board to play Joplin, but has since departed the project.
Director Sean Durkin, who's been attached to the film for years, remains at the helm. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie's current working title is Janis, and will be based on Love, Janis, a book by Joplin's sister Laura that "uses Janis’ letters to family and friends to tell the story of a young woman rising from playing at coffeehouses to performing at Woodstock and dealing with sudden fame and celebrity while combating alcohol and heroin addiction, all the while trying to keep her creativity."
Durkin and Newman aren't alone in their efforts to dramatize Joplin's life. A competing project, titled Get It While You Can, nabbed Amy Adams in the starring role with Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée at the helm, but production was halted last year after producers sued the screenwriter. Filmmakers have been more successful on the documentary front: last year, Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg released her own look back at Joplin's life, the critically acclaimed Little Girl Blue.
Whether Janis finally gets off the ground with Williams on board remains to be seen, but she comes to the project at an in-demand moment in her career. Williams stars in two of the more widely praised films of the fall, Manchester by the Sea and Certain Women, and earned a Tony nomination for her work in the Broadway play Blackbird, which ended its run in June.
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