'Martha Marcy May Marlene' Director Lining Up Janis Joplin Biopic
After taking Martha Marcy May Marlene to Sundance in 2011, the film generated a lot of buzz, but not enough to hit the awards circuit, despite a great directorial debut by Sean Durkin (he earned Best Director at the festival) and a breakthrough performance by Elizabeth Olsen, the sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Well, Durkin is moving on to his sophomore effort now, and it sounds like he'll be giving another actress a big break as Deadline reports Nina Arianda (who can be seen in small supporting roles in films like Win Win and Midnight in Paris) will play 60's rock icon Janis Joplin in the aptly titled biopic Joplin.
It likely will pale in comparison to Jenna Maroney's unauthorized biopic Jackie Jormp-Jomp from "30 Rock," but Durkin's film is only looking at the final six months of the singer's life with some flashbacks to early points in her career. It's pretty interesting to hear that Durkin isn't going very high profile for his sophomore effort, especially after all the acclaim he received for his Sundance debut. Arianda is far from a big name (at least for now), but she did win a Tony for her stage turn in Venus in Fur, including praise from director Mike Nichols who compared her to a young Meryl Streep. The actress will also do all her own singing as Janis Joplin, known for having quite the gritty voice.
And despite being an indie film in development for over 12 years, it has a leg up on any competing projects that have been mentioned over the years as producer Peter Newman and his partners have locked down the exclusive rights to 21 of Joplin's most famous tunes, and that's more than enough for a soundtrack. Plus, it's said that Newman also has the rights to Love, Janis, a collection of letters from the singer that was published by her sister Laura Joplin, and the David Dalton book Piece Of My Heart. Joplin died young from a heroin overdose at 27-years old, so while it's unfortunately an all too short story.