When Joel and Ethan Coen put Tommy Johnson (a blues musician whose early history is often confused/combined with that of Robert Johnson) into O Brother, Where Art Thou?, I thought it was a neat little narrative trick. No problem with it whatsoever.
When I read that there’s a plan to make a fictionalized road movie featuring Jimi Hendrix, I have a negative gut reaction. Maybe it’s that this film wouldn’t be about the musician, but about pointless legends that surround him. Read the logline after the break, and see where you fall on the question, positive or negative.
THR says the film Slide, to be written and directed by R.H. Greene, will be based around a legendary late-career ‘lost weekend’ during which, in the film, two gangsters accidentally kidnap Hendrix. The two criminals, trying to get away from a mob boss they betrayed, end up on a road trip with the guitarist, during which “Hendrix ends up teaching one of the gangsters about honesty, and Hendrix learns to clean up his act.”
It’s the ‘life lesson’ angle that bugs me. “Hendrix learns to clean up his act?” What a lame, who-gives-a-shit approach to the guy. I want to see Hendrix making magic on the guitar, not teaching some gangster to be nice. Then there’s the fact that, according to the trade, the film won’t use any Hendrix music, nor reference any real portions of his life. Makes the project sound like a movie that is being written around Hendrix just as a hook. Hope I’m wrong. In the meantime, there’s also a real Hendrix biopic in development, by the producer behind It Might Get Loud.
Incidentally, there’s another film in production called Slide: a family drama about a baseball player, played by Gerard Butler, who is trying to fix relationships with his wife and child. Slide sounds like a better title for that one; let’s see who blinks first. [Variety]