Andre Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix

John Ridley just had a great weekend as he won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for his work on 12 Years a Slave. Even if there is still-simmering resentment between him and the film’s director Steve McQueen, taking home that Oscar, and the film’s own Best Picture win, have to have him feeling pretty good.

Ridley has his own directorial debut coming to theaters this year. All Is By My Side chronicles an early year in the career of Jimi Hendrix, picking up where the guitarist was “discovered” in a club by Linda Keith. The film follows Hendrix as he goes to London and assembles his first major band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and prepares to play the Monterey Pop Festival.

We haven’t seen a trailer, but below you can see a clip of one scene, in which we see Andre Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix, in a dramatic moment with Linda Keith (Imogen Poots) during a conversation before he heads to Monterey. Read More »

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THR-writer-Roundtable

One of the highlights of each new Oscar season is the set of roundtable discussions created by THR. In each of these, the trade gathers a set of people involved in various films likely to be highlighted in the awards season, and just allows them to talk about making movies. They can be pretty great, especially since one byproduct of awards season is a tendency to talk about superficialities rather than substance, and these talks can really dig into the meat of making movies.

Here’s the new 50-minute screenwriting roundtable, featuring George Clooney and Grant Heslov (Monuments Men), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight), Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), John Ridley (12 Years A Slave), Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) and Jonas Cuaron (Gravity). Read More »

It seems like biopics and other similar true life stories are exploding in development right now, and we’ve got casting for three big ones. First up, the Jimi Hendrix film All is By My Side has just added a young Keith Richards. British actor Ashley Charles will play the Rolling Stones songwriter and guitarist.

John Ridley is directing the film now, with Andre Benjamin as Hendrix, and Hayley Atwell as Linda Keith, who during the story’s time frame was dating Richards. She ‘discovered’ Hendrix and tried to get the Stones management to work with him, to no avail. Keith Richards likely won’t play a big part in the film, which chronicles the days before Hendrix made it big.

Fun fact checking: let’s see how people refer to Richards in this film. In ’63 the Stones manager started listing the guitarist as Keith Richard, and it wasn’t until the ’70s that he once again became Richards.  [THR]

After the break, Donal Logue plays an important figure in the New York music scene, and Colin Farrell is in talks for the Mary Poppins film Saving Mr. Banks. Read More »

Earlier this week we passed on the rumor that All is By My Side, a long-simmering biopic of the amazing and groundbreaking guitarist/singer/songwriter Jimi Hendrix, would finally shoot this month with Andre Benjamin of OutKast in the lead role. (Benjamin has an acting resume, in films like Idlewild, Be Cool and Four Brothers.)

Now we’ve got confirmation of that report, with some new details. Haley Atwell is confirmed for a role and Imogen Poots will play in the picture, too.

But there’s a problem: while financing is set so that John Ridley, who also wrote, can direct the film in Ireland just weeks from now, Hendrix rights holders Experience Hendrix say they’re not on board with the project. Read More »

For years now, André Benjamin has been talking about playing the lead in a biopic of Jimi Hendrix‘s life. But between the Hendrix estate’s notoriously tight hold on the late musician’s work and the fact that we haven’t heard of much forward movement on the film, we couldn’t help but be skeptical.

According to a new report, however, not only is the movie in pre-production, it could shoot as early as this month under the title All is By My Side. It may be worth taking this news with a grain of salt, but if true, it’s a surprising and exciting development on a project that looked like it might never actually get off the ground.

Read More »

Here’s an update to the developing news on Steve McQueen‘s third film, Twelve Years a Slave, that is pretty minor in terms of word count, but potentially huge for the movie. We know that Chiwetel Ejiofor will play Solomon Northrup, a free black man kidnapped in Washington in 1841 and made to serve as a slave for over a decade. Michael Fassbender, who featured in McQueen’s last two films, Hunger and Shame, will also play a role.

Brad Pitt‘s company Plan B is producing the film, and now the actor will take a role in the movie, too. Read More »

Michael Fassbender is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after actors working right now. He’s got that combination of skill, looks and fearlessness that makes him desirable for any producer or director.

For demonstrations of fearlessness, all you have to do is look to Fassbender’s two films made with director Steve McQueen. Hunger is a searing experience that recreates the 1981 hunger strike led by IRA volunteer Bobby Sands in the Maze prison. And then there is Shame, opening in December, which gained immediate notoriety after festival appearances revealed the sexually explicit details of the drama about a man (Fassbender) “unable to manage his sex life.”

You can also take the in-demand actor’s willingness to make time for McQueen as a declaration of the director’s stature. Now, as Shame moves towards a general opening in US theaters, Fassbender has signed to appear in McQueen’s next film, 12 Years a Slave, which will star Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northrup, a free black man kidnapped in Washington in 1841 and made to serve as a slave for over a decade. Read More »

Steve McQueen followed his debut film Hunger with Shame, which reunites him with actor Michael Fassbender and will premiere shortly at the Venice Film Festival. Now he’s got his post-Shame project set: a film called 12 Years a Slave, in which Chiwetel Ejiofor will star. Read More »

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