Scorsese’s upcoming flick will be a yet-unnamed Grateful Dead biopic for Apple, and Jonah Hill will portray the late Jerry Garcia.
The streaming services have put out some magnificent, Oscar-worthy feature films. Netflix had a jackpot of prestigious films last year in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, My Octopus Teacher and Mank, Amazon Prime won Oscars for Sound of Metal, and Hulu’s Nomadland won the big prize. And Apple has…. Well, I hear that Tom Hanks movie isn’t bad.
Apple is hoping to make its biggest splash yet with a just-announced Martin Scorsese-directed Grateful Dead biopic. And the Chronicle reports that Jonah Hill will play Jerry Garcia, the band’s SF-born guitarist.
It seems in the vein of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and the 2019 Elton John story Rocketman, which may or may not be a good thing. Both of those were highly sanitized tales that pretty much erased the whole drug use thing, and seemed more intended to reintroduce the band’s library to get the songs licensed for more television ads. According to Deadline, “The Dead’s Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann will executive produce along with their late bandmate’s daughter Trixie Garcia.”
That does not sound like the makings of a “warts and all” project, that sounds like Grateful Dead sponsored content.
But there are other promising pre-production talents lined up. Variety reports that “Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, whose credits include The People v. O.J. Simpson, Ed Wood and Dolemite Is My Name, have been hired to pen the screenplay.”
Scorsese is currently directing another Apple project called Killers of the Flower Moon with Leo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, so this project will likely have to wait until that’s done. He also directed a 2017 documentary about the band, called — you guessed it — Long Strange Trip.
Images: (Left) Altman Photo via Wikimedia Commons, (Right) Paramount Pictures