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Why Hollywood Can’t Finish a Janis Joplin Biopic

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Hollywood Tries (Just a Little Bit Harder) But Can’t Make a Janis Joplin Film

Jim Morrison got one. Jimi Hendrix, too. And Kurt Cobain. And now, with Back to Black, Amy Winehouse is getting one as well. But there is one member of the so-called 27 Club — artists who share the same tragically young age of death — who has not yet been memorialized on the big screen. There’s never been a Janis Joplin biopic, though it’s certainly not for lack of trying. By Rambling’s count, there have been at least five attempts at bringing The Pearl, who died in 1970, back to life, most recently in 2010, when Amy Adams was attached to portray the singer in the never-shot Janis: Get It While You Can. Six years earlier, Zooey Deschanel was slated to play Joplin in The Gospel According to Janis, then Deschanel fell out and, before the film was scrapped, was replaced by Pink. There was also Piece of My Heart, initially set up with Melissa Etheridge, then Brittany Murphy, then Renée Zellweger, and at one point Jonathan Demme was reportedly working on a Joplin film, until it ran into the same dead end as all the others. So why were all these Joplin movies doomed to sputter? Pink has offered one theory: “Janis doesn’t want it to happen.” But perhaps another clue

can be discerned from the history of a certain 1979 attempted biopic called Pearl. Joplin’s estate pushed back on that project and refused to permit the use of her music. In the end, it worked out just fine. The producers changed the title to The Rose and used their own music, and its star, Bette Midler, went on to nab an Oscar nomination for her turn as the fictional Mary Rose Foster. — JORDAN HOFFMAN

Matthew Weiner‘s Tchotchkes Draw Mad Crowd

In Hollywood, even garage sales are glamorous. On April 27, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner opened the doors to his Hollywood Hills home for a rummage sale that had hundreds of bargain hunters lining the block to pick over his Sterling Cooper swag, midcentury cocktail glasses, books about 1960s advertising and more. Weiner and Linda Brettler moved into the 11,000-square-foot mansion known as the Blair Estate in 2010 but put the house up for sale after filing for divorce in 2019, asking $15.5 million. It appears to have sold at something of a discount (its most recent asking price was $12.99 million). Exactly why the man behind Don Draper decided to unload his excess baggage with an estate sale rather than peddling it at auction like most other celebrities is unclear: Weiner did not respond to a request for comment. But the agent overseeing the sale, Amy Byer, says the practice is becoming more commonplace. “You just hand me the keys,” she says, “and go on with your life.” — ANDY LEWIS

Did Tom Cruise Just Crash Nicole Kidman’s Party?

When Nicole Kidman was honored April 27 at the AFI Gala with a lifetime achievement award, several attendees were stunned to see Tom Cruise clapping along at a table up front. Or at least someone who, from the Dolby’s cheap seats, looked like Cruise. Upon closer inspection, the reveler was none other than Miles Fisher, better known as Deepfake Tom Cruise, the guy whose AI-enhanced video impersonations of Kidman’s ex were wildly popular on TikTok a few years back. What was he doing there? Turns out he wasn’t trying to freak out anyone; in fact, Fisher says he hasn’t done a Deepfake Tom video in more than a year. He’s been focused on his work as co-founder of Metaphysic, an AI VFX company that will be used to de-age Tom Hanks and Robin Wright in Robert Zemeckis’ next film, Here. In fact, Fisher attends the gala every year, as a guest of his mom. “My mother [Nancy Collins Fisher] has been on the board of directors of AFI for about 20 years,” he says, “and my father [Richard W. Fisher] is on the board of Warner Bros. Discovery. I keep all that very low-key.” — JULIAN SANCTON

This story first appeared in the May 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.



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