Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia will get the big-screen biopic treatment, with Amir Bar-Lev—a documentarian best-known for My Kid Could Paint That and the upcoming The Tillman Story—stepping into the realm of drama with an adaptation drawn from Robert Greenfield’s oral history Dark Star. (We’re guessing it’ll have a slightly different name when it’s finished, to avoid any confusion with John Carpenter’s classic sci-fi satire.)
The screenplay from Topper Lilien, his first since 2000’s Dungeons & Dragons, is said to focus on Garcia’s early life before joining the Dead—which, honestly, is sort of disappointing. Remember how in Backbeat and Nowhere Boy you were just impatiently waiting for them to become the Beatles already and go on Ed Sullivan and then take a lot of drugs and make Yellow Submarine and then get into fights with each other about Yoko? It’ll probably be a lot like that, only with a lot more tragic family vacations. But still, a slightly tangential Jerry Garcia film is better than no Garcia film at all, we suppose, and the fact that Bar-Lev insists the script “steadfastly resists cliché” is promising.
This announcement also opens the door to fun speculation about who’ll play Garcia as a young man. Given some other recent casting decisions when it comes to famously druggy ’60s rock stars, we’re gonna go with Tobey Maguire.