20 Musician Biopics Currently In Development Hell

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News came down last week that Sacha Baron Cohen will be stepping into the rhinestones and glitter as Queen icon Freddie Mercury. It's been a long time coming for Cohen, the Borat and Bruno star who is slowly becoming his generation's Peter Sellers and has been rumored to have the Mercury role for years now.

The Mercury biopic is supposedly slated to the beginnings of the band from the early '70s until 1985. Production is scheduled to begin later this year, with a screenplay by The Queen scribe Peter Morgan, who also wrote Frost/Nixon for both stage and screen. No word yet on a director for the Mercury flick.

Today would also be Port Arthur blues mama Janis Joplin's 68th birthday, and the idea for a movie about the life of the Southern Comfort-stewed voice behind "Me & Bobby McGee" and "Ball and Chain" has been bouncing around Hollywood since the day Ms. Pearl died in 1971. Almost.

Rocks Off spent a few hours on IMDB yesterday (hey guys!) and started compiling a rough list of all the rock and roll biopics supposedly in the works over the next few years. Some of them, if they pan out, will no doubt be supreme Oscar bait.

We found a few surprises, to say the least. Half of these may never make it to the screen, but it's fun to wish and hope. Hell, we would even see a George Gershwin movie.


Dusty Springfield: A brassy blonde with tall hair and a dynamite voice? You know, there's is this chick Scarlett Johansson who might work...

Yellow Submarine (remake): No thank you, Robert Zemeckis. Go make another Back To The Future while you still can and stay away from a CGI Yellow Submarine. Dick.

Jerry Lee Lewis: Director Terence Malick is attached. We liked Great Balls of Fire with Dennis Quaid, but "The Killer" (who plays Friday at Nutty Jerry's in Winnie, by the way) was a seedy dude, and that could have been explored more.

Jerry Garcia: We are more than likely a few years out from this one, which will tell the story of Jerry before the Grateful Dead came into the picture.

George Gershwin: Zachary Quinto from Heroes and Star Trek is said to be involved in this one. Hopefully it won't turn out like De-Lovely, the Cole Porter biopic starring Kevin Kline.

Charley Pride: Terence Howard is attached to the story of Pride and his country-pioneering ways. Personally, we think Darius Rucker would be a fun, if a bit obvious, fit.

Phil Spector: Lately Al Pacino has been playing crazies, with a turn most recently as Dr. Jack Kevorkian for an excellent HBO movie. This time around he will be playing Spector not as the hit-making producer, but the convicted murderer.

The Clash/London Calling: Filmmakers are working on a film about the making of London Calling, and looking for a cast. As much as we wince at everyone being fed weird Hollywood half-truths about The Clash, we can't wait for kids to become enthralled like we were.

Another Brick In The Wall: This one is actually going to be about the kids who, with the help of their music teacher, sang on Pink Floyd's The Wall. A Floyd movie would be a good idea, though...


Kurt Cobain: Courtney Love has the rights and is looking for a script and a new Kurt. It would be morose genius to have it out by the 20th anniversary of Cobain's death in 2014.

Janis Joplin: This one has probably been in the planning stages since some of the actors who currently being bandied about to portray Janis were in diapers. At one point Melissa Etheridge and Renee Zellwegger were in the running, as was Pink. Now the smart money is on Amy Adams or Zooey Deschanel.

Motley Crue: A movie based on The Dirt is now the second biggest Great White Whale of rock movies next to the Joplin flick. Nikki, Vince, Tommy and Mick, if you are reading this, Rocks Off will gladly write the screenplay.

Jeff Buckley: In the right hands, we may be seeing a Best Actor nom for someone here. James Franco does favor Buckley in a lot of pictures.

Miles Davis: Davis was kind of a fiery jerk, which we think Don Cheadle would love to have fun with. He's been rumored for years, too.

Marvin Gaye: This would be a sexy-ass movie with the right casting.

Sam Cooke: This would be a great story, the timeless R&B singer taken way too soon. His music is still helping people make babies almost 47 years after his death.


Syd Barrett: A script about the late Floyd frontman Barrett is being "looked at." It will be interesting to see how his later years are explored.

The Beach Boys: Justin Bieber as Brian Wilson? Why not, Hollywood? As it is, you are already making two more Avatar movies.

James Brown: Usher has been mentioned. But are we talking young and sexy JB or crazy batshit JB from the '80s?

Bob Marley: Jamie Foxx was a rumor, which sounds like an awful idea. But then, Foxx as Ray Charles probably didn't sound right either.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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