Jonah Hill Playing Jerry Garcia in Martin Scorsese Dead Film

Slightly off the country music page (though not entirely), yet still pretty damn exciting, it’s been announced that Martin Scorsese’s next film project will be a Grateful Dead biopic with Jonah Hill set to portray Jerry Garcia. The news comes as Scorsese has just wrapped production on his latest film Killers of the Flower Moon that both Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell will appear in.

Scorsese most certainly knows his way around the nexus of film and music, and around the Grateful Dead specifically. His 1978 film The Last Waltz chronicling the final concert of The Band might be the greatest concert film ever produced. He also produced and directed the 2017 Grateful Dead documentary Long Strange Trip, so he’s clearly familiar with the material. Scorsese has also directed and produced documentaries on Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and George Harrison.

Those were all documentaries though. This will be a dramatic film. Then you have Jonah Hill as Jerry Garcia, who first worked with Martin Scorsese on the film The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013 where Hill earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The two reportedly have been looking for a good opportunity to work together ever since then, and it’s safe to say that Jonah Hill’s body type makes him a good candidate for Garcia.

Though the Grateful Dead is best known as a psychedelic rock band, they contributed greatly to country music with their most critically-acclaimed albums from the early 70’s Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty. Jerry Garcia also was a steel guitar player, performing the licks on CSNY’s “Teach Your Children” and other tracks. He also played in the country rock band New Riders of the Purple Sage, and later became a big conduit for bluegrass when he helped form Old and In The Way in 1973.

We don’t have any information at this point on what the film will entail exactly—if it will zero in on one specific era of the Grateful Dead, or if it will go straight from the 60’s acid tests to selling out stadiums in the 80’s, and all the way up to Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995. What we do know is that living Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann will executive produce along with Jerry Garcia’s daughter Trixie Garcia, as well as Eric Eisner and Bernie Cahill.

We also know that Apple is the production company, and they have all the rights secured to play Grateful Dead music in the film. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski who wrote American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson will be writing the script for the yet-to-be-named biopic.

No ballpark on when production might start, or when the film might be released.

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