Martin Scorsese to Direct Grateful Dead Biopic
Martin Scorsese will direct and produce a Grateful Dead biopic for Apple, with Jonah Hill starring as late bandleader Jerry Garcia.
Hill will produce the yet-untitled film through his Strong Baby Productions company along with producing partner Matt Dines, Deadline reported. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who wrote the critically acclaimed American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, will handle the script. Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann will serve as executive producers, along with Double E Pictures CEO Eric Eisner, Dead & Company manager Bernie Cahill and Garcia’s daughter, Trixie Garcia.
The upcoming biopic will mark Scorsese’s second Grateful Dead-related project, behind the 2017 documentary Long Strange Trip, on which he served as an executive producer. The auteur filmmaker has helmed numerous rock docs over the course of his career, including the Band’s 1978 concert movie The Last Waltz, the Rolling Stones' 2008 live film Shine a Light and the 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World.
The Grateful Dead biopic will also reunite Scorsese and Hill, who first worked together on 2013's Wolf of Wall Street, which earned Hill an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The two have reportedly been looking for an opportunity to collaborate again ever since then, and Hill jumped at the chance to play the legendary guitarist.
It is not yet clear what ground the biopic will cover, though there's certainly no lack of source material. The San Francisco band formed in 1965 and helped spearhead the late-'60s countercultural revolution. They developed a reputation as a must-see live act and released several gold and platinum albums over the course of their initial 30-year tenure. The group disbanded after Garcia's death in 1995, but in 2015, Weir, Hart and Kreutzmann launched Dead & Company with several other musicians, reclaiming their stadium-headliner status and marking one of the most successful second acts in rock history.
Hopefully, the resulting film will come with less drama than 2018's Bohemian Rhapsody, which is now at the center of a lawsuit from screenwriter Anthony McCarten, who claims he is still owed money from the nearly billion-dollar-grossing biopic.