Merle Haggard Biopic Movie Acquired by Amazon

Amazon has acquired the rights to a biopic film based off the life of Merle Haggard to be directed by Robin Bissell, and to be written by Bissell and Merle Haggard’s widow, Theresa Haggard. Actor Sam Rockwell, who has played numerous high profile roles including winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his part in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, is currently being strongly considered to play Merle, and will do his own singing of Haggard standards in the movie.

The biopic will be based on the Merle Haggard memoir Sing Me Back Home, with much of the picture to be centered around the 60’s, and the tumultuous time in Merle’s life when many of the most iconic moments in his career occurred, including escaping from local jails 17 times and ending up in San Quentin Prison in California where he saw Johnny Cash play and became inspired to pursue country music himself.

According to Deadline, the film will follow Haggard as he begins his career trying to break away from his convict past, hiding it at first as he cut his teeth in Bakersfield, signing to Capitol Record, a complicated love affair with Bonnie Owens, and eventually ascending into country music stardom where he became one of the most important and influential country artists of all time.

Director Robin Bissell and actor Sam Rockwell recently worked together on the 2019 film The Best of Enemies. This is not the only Merle Haggard biopic that has been reported to be in the works. In 2016, a biopic called Done It All written by screenwriter Cliff Hollingsworth was announced as being developed in part by a man named Carl Cooper, who was hand-selected by Haggard to develop it with Hollingsworth. But there hasn’t been any news about that film project since then.

Often biopic films will be announced, but then stall at some point in the process as funding, studios, or other resources look to be secured. Also in 2016, two separate biopic films were announced covering the life of George Jones, neither of which has been released. However by securing a partnership with Amazon, this gives the Merle Haggard biopic some extra hope.

Merle Haggard died on April 6th, his 79th birthday, after suffering from complications due to a double pneumonia. The Country Music Hall of Famer had a total of 38 #1 hits, growing up in a house constructed from a boxcar, and his father dying when he was 9-years-old.

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