Janis Joplin Film Bio Gets a Leading Lady

BY Jeremy Kinser

July 09 2012 9:35 PM ET

While countless similar projects have failed to come to fruition, it seems that a film biography of Janis Joplin may finally get made with Tony Award-winner Nina Arianda as the late bisexual rocker, reports Deadline.

Sean Durkin, who helmed last year's critically-acclaimed psychological drama Martha Marcy May Marlene, will direct Arianda, a hot property following her win last month for Broadway's Venus in Fur as well as the 2011 revival of Born Yesterday, as the free-spirited musician. Deadline's Mike Fleming reveals the film will look at the final six months of Joplin's life with flashbacks offering a glimpse into her earlier days. The hard-living singer died of a heroin overdose in 1970.

Rival bios of the iconic performer have been touted numerous times during the past decade with performers such as P!nk, Renee Zellweger, and Amy Adams attached, but none have made it to production. The struggle to get a film made about the singer has even inspired a long-running comedic storyline in the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, with Jane Krakowski's character Jenna Maroney playing Joplin, but for legal reasons her name must be changed to Jackie Jormp-Jomp in the bio Sing Dem Blues, White Girl: The Jackie Jormp-Jomp Story.

Producer Peter Newman, however, is confident his film will be the one to finally get made, having secured exclusive rights to 21 of Joplin's best-known songs, as well as two written properties about her, including former Rolling Stone contributor David Dalton's authoritative biography Piece of My Heart.

Newman is also thrilled with the casting of Arianda. “I’ve never in my life seen an actress walk on a stage and convey the duality of vulnerability with overheated sexuality, which is what Janis was all about,” he tells Deadline.

Watch Joplin perform "Little Girl Blue" below.

Tags: film

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