He brought us on board United 93, kicked ass around the world with Jason Bourne and brought us into the heart of the Green Zone in Iraq, but a biopic of legendary axe-wielder Jimi Hendrix is not in the cards for director Paul Greengrass.
Deadline reports that the gestating biopic was not met with the approval of the rocker's estate, Experience Hendrix. If news of the film in and of itself seems to be coming out of left field, well, that's because it sort of is, but the project has been brewing for over a year now.
We first hinted at the project late last year, during the tumultuous days that led to Paul Greengrass exiting "Bourne 4." We were told that Greengrass was showing an interest in the brewing biopic -- though we were asked to redact who the subject was at the time -- which had been in the works since the summer of 2009 (not to mention there have been numerous attempts before then by others, all of which were kiboshed by Experience Hendrix).
Legendary Pictures chief Thomas Tull figured that since the estate of Jimi Hendrix is heavily protected by his family members, he would gamble on not bothering to even seek approval, but get someone to write the story first (Black List approved Max Borenstein was hired to pen a screenplay), get a director and actor and then present the package to the notoriously picky gate keepers and hope they'll approve. No shocker here, it didn't work.
"Legendary proceeded without our permission, direction or involvement. It didn't 'fall apart,' it never was. When we do the Jimi Hendrix feature film bio we will be involved and in control from the beginning," said Janie Hendrix in a statement. So why is their involvement so crucial? Simply because they control the catalog of songs that Hendrix wrote (though songs he performed by others such as "All Along The Watchtower" are not) and trying to make a movie without rights to the essential tunes is pure folly. Another issue is that the estate was apparently concerned that a film wouldn't necessarily help sales of the late musician's music (apparently Oliver Stone's "The Doors" did little to move units of Morrison Hotel) and weren't exactly chomping at the bit to get a movie made anyway.
The proposed project surely would have been something electric with Paul Greengrass directing Anthony Mackie in the lead role (great choice), but alas, cross Experience Hendrix at the Axis Of Love and you will get burned. Instead, you can file it under What Could Have Been.