Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record Alexandra Shipp Has been Cast as Storm in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Alexandra Shipp Has been Cast as Storm in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Open Casting Call - 2 Male Leads in New Feature Film From the Producers of 'Pariah' & 'Yelling to the Sky' Open Casting Call - 2 Male Leads in New Feature Film From the Producers of 'Pariah' & 'Yelling to the Sky' "Stakes Is High" in First Trailer for Season 2 of STARZ Hit Drama Series 'Power' (Returns This Summer) "Stakes Is High" in First Trailer for Season 2 of STARZ Hit Drama Series 'Power' (Returns This Summer) An Open Letter to My Sister, Ava DuVernay An Open Letter to My Sister, Ava DuVernay American 'Luther' Gets Official Pilot Order at Fox, But Contingent on Cast. Let's Help Them Out... American 'Luther' Gets Official Pilot Order at Fox, But Contingent on Cast. Let's Help Them Out... Anthony Mackie Says 'Selma' Oscar Snub Is Because Voters Are "Tired of Race" Anthony Mackie Says 'Selma' Oscar Snub Is Because Voters Are "Tired of Race" Sundance Trailer Exclusive: Stanley Nelson's Timely 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Sundance Trailer Exclusive: Stanley Nelson's Timely 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Geeks Gone Wild in First Trailer for Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance-Bound Drama 'Dope' Geeks Gone Wild in First Trailer for Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance-Bound Drama 'Dope' These Movies Are Coming to Netflix's Streaming Library in February These Movies Are Coming to Netflix's Streaming Library in February Bill Duke's 'Dark Girls' Follow-up, 'Light Girls,' Premieres Tonight on OWN. Watch 3 Clips Bill Duke's 'Dark Girls' Follow-up, 'Light Girls,' Premieres Tonight on OWN. Watch 3 Clips Amazon Announces Plans to Disrupt Feature Film Production & Distribution Environment Amazon Announces Plans to Disrupt Feature Film Production & Distribution Environment Weekend B.O. Jan. 16-18  (You Gotta Be Kidding Me!) Weekend B.O. Jan. 16-18 (You Gotta Be Kidding Me!) How Did 'Selma' Do at the Box Office on Its First Day in Release? How Did 'Selma' Do at the Box Office on Its First Day in Release? Watch Teaser for 'Being Mary Jane' Season 2 + Details on Story, Guest Stars Watch Teaser for 'Being Mary Jane' Season 2 + Details on Story, Guest Stars Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) Will Have An Affair In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) Will Have An Affair In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' It's A 'Hustle & Flow' Reunion! Taraji P. Henson Joins Terrence Howard In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' It's A 'Hustle & Flow' Reunion! Taraji P. Henson Joins Terrence Howard In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Is André Benjamin The Man To Play Jimi Hendrix? Why/Why Not?

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 8, 2012 at 12:25PM

Let me first make it clear that I'm not being disparaging, or *hating* on the man and/or his abilities... consider this more of an inquiry.
24
André Benjamin

Let me first make it clear that I'm not being disparaging, or *hating* on the man and/or his abilities... consider this more of an inquiry.

Based on your comments here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, and also the number of *likes* the post announcing the news has received in the last 24 hours since I posted it yesterday, it's safe to say that most of you are excited about André Benjamin starring as Jimi Hendrix in a film based on the late legend's life. 

I, on the otherhand, don't necessarly share your enthusiasm for the project - particularly the actor chosen to play the title role; and I'm hoping that you all who are apparently sold on André Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix can convince me that he IS indeed the man for the part.

In short, as I see it, looking over his IMDB resume, I've seen 3 of his performances - in Idlewild, Four Brothers, and Be Cool - and there's really nothing about any of them that's enough to make me feel less ambivalent about his ability to successfully embody Jimi Hendrix on film. 

So I ask you, what am I missing here? What am I just not seeing that many of you apparently are?

And to answer a question that I'm sure you will ask me - who I think should play the part - as I've said many times in the past regarding films based on real-life figures (dead of alive), my first choice in actors to play those roles would go to unknown actors/actresses. They tend to come with less baggage, because I think it's much easier for the audience to see past the actor playing the part (especially if they're good at what they do), and instead see the character they're portraying. With faces we're already familiar with, that familiarity can be distracting - unless the actor is able to completely disappear into the performance, so much that we forget that they are performing, and we only see the character they're playing; something that I think is rare when it comes to biopics. It takes a really strong actor to pull off that kind of a performance.

So this project actually worries me more than it excites me to be frank. It's not like biopics on black public figures are being financed and produced regularly; and here we have a wonderful opportunity to realize the life (a few years of it anyway) of Jimi Hendrix's short time on this planet, on film, and all I want is to ensure that it's an opportunity that's fully taken advantage of, and that the audience gets the best possible film. 

It's not an opportunity that will come around again any time soon, if ever. So the pressure is certainly on, and I'm sure Mr Benjamin realizes that - at least I hope so. I know he's been wanting to make this film for a long time now, and that alone (his passion for it) is certainly encouraging. I'm just not too sure he's the man for the job.

He could certainly completely surprise me with his performance. And if that happens, I'll bow to the alter that is Andre Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix. But until then, all I have to go on is his past work, and I just can't say that any of it makes me less ambivalent about this particular project.

So, once again, I'd like to know what you all are seeing that I'm just not; what am I missing here? Is it just his look, or is there more (don't forget that he actually has to ACT in this; it's not just going to be a series of scenes with Benjamin plucking at guitar strings with a headband around his head). The film will follow Hendrix’s years in England, from 1966 to 1967, as he put together his debut album, Are You Experienced

Why should I be excited about this project, other than the fact that it's being made finally?

School me.


Jimi Hendrix - Vancouver Interview (Part 1 of 2) by super8monsters


Shadow & ActNewsletter