Martin Scorcese will go from gangsters to Grateful Dead with a forthcoming biopic about the band, with Jonah Hill set to star as Jerry Garcia. The project, first reported by Deadline, has no title or release date yet, but is reportedly in development for Apple.
Yes, you read that right. The guy who made Goodfellas is going to direct a dramatization of the Grateful Dead starring the kid from Superbad as Jerry.
The project has legs, with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson) writing the script. Additionally, surviving Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart, along with Jerry’s daughter, Trixie Garcia, and talent manager, Bernie Cahill, are on board as executive producers. With the blessings of the Grateful Dead, Scorcese and Apple will have unfettered access to the band’s extensive vault of live and studio material.
Though it may seem like we are living in a simulation upon reading that headline, the project isn’t as far-out as it appears. Scorcese served as a producer on the exhaustive 2017 Grateful Dead documentary series, Long Strange Trip, directed by Amir Bar-Lev. Production for the five-part series gave Scorcese and the team never-before-seen access to the Dead’s history, and it appears Marty isn’t yet done with the group’s story. Plus, anyone who has seen any of the Oscar-winner’s films can attest to how prominently music is featured (looking at you, “Layla” coda).
Scorsese has also helmed a number of acclaimed music-related documentary projects and served as an executive producer on HBO’s Vinyl, a period drama about the 1970s New York music scene. The reported Grateful Dead project, however, would serve as the director’s first attempt at a full-fledged music biopic.
This will mark Scorcese’s reunion with Hill after the two first worked together on 2017’s The Wolf of Wall Street, which earned Hill an Oscar nod. Jonah is an equally important part of this equation, as the actor has not only been enjoying a highly-successful transition from comedy to drama, but has also outed himself as an unabashed Deadhead, as reported in a 2018 GQ feature. With someone with deep reverence for the countercultural icon playing the role of Jerry, audiences can hope to avoid a Val Kilmer in The Doors scenario.
Stay tuned for more details on what promises to be the hottest film on lot.