NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The producing duo behind “Election” and “Little Miss Sunshine” are developing a biopic about Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia.
The untitled project aims to reveal the roots of the counterculture icon, focusing primarily on Garcia’s early life in the Bay Area before he joined the band that would become the Grateful Dead. The period includes a stint in the military, a life-changing car accident and his first creative encounters with members of the Northern California music scene like future Dead bassist Phil Lesh.
Veteran producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, who have collaborated on some of the biggest indie hits of the past decade, have reunited with their “Hamlet 2” partner Eric Eisner on the project. They acquired the rights to Robert Greenfield’s book “Dark Star,” an oral history of Garcia from dozens of people who knew him, including musicians, relatives and artist friends like Ken Kesey.
Music rights also are being negotiated, though given that the period in Garcia’s life that’s covered is pre-Dead, the producers could avoid some of the trickier negotiations.
Topper Lilien, who wrote Universal’s Paul Newman-starring drama “Where the Money Is,” is attached to write the screenplay.
The Dead have been the subject of number of documentaries -- including 1977’s “The Grateful Dead Movie,” a concert film Garcia directed -- but the story of Garcia’s life has never been told on the big screen.