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Jimi Hendrix and the elusive music biopic.

Jimi Hendrix and the elusive music biopic. (photo)

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For every Frank Sinatra or Ray Charles biopic that gets made there are a dozen more in the works. And for every “Control,” or “Walk the Line” or “Amadeus” there are countless films that never get out of development. Music flicks have special obstacles along with the usual ones faced by all films, not least of which is finding the right actors to play what tend to be very recognizable people.

People with real, tangible, talents too. It’s challenging enough portraying Richard Nixon or Harvey Milk, but what if you have to play piano convincingly or sing well too? Audiences may be entirely forgiving about how much Philip Seymour Hoffman actually looks like Truman Capote, but the same attitude is less apt to apply to a rock star with an iconic look.

Worse for the music biopic is the licensing of all those songs, that without, make the picture pointless. And then there’s the estate to come to terms with, even bring on board as producers or meddlers as the case may be. Variety lays out many of the pitfalls faced by recent attempts, as well as some ongoing developments – the one that caught my attention is a possible new Hendrix venture that seems to be getting developed backwards, with the estate courting filmmakers as opposed to the other way around.

Janie Hendrix, half-sister to the late guitar hero, retained control of most of the Hendrix estate in a 2004 court battle with Jimi’s little brother Leon Hendrix, and is now seeking to get a film off the ground.

Rather than entertaining offers by potential filmmakers looking to make a biopic, she decided to reach out to specific filmmakers with whom she’d like to work. “The plan is to see if we have the same vision,” she says. “And we’ll go from there.”

Who and how and most importantly, will it be cool? remains to be seen. About his lifestyle and the drugs, she added:

“We all knew Jimi experimented with drugs; it was the ’60s,” says Hendrix. “But on the other hand, he was a workaholic when it came to his music. We want people to really remember Jimi for his dedication and his gift to the world: his music.”

Fair enough. Though I was not that impressed with an interview she gave last month to Seattle Weekly where she talked of a decade of coming Hendrix releases (with Sony) from a vault admitting no understanding of what Jimi intended and giving no indication of any creative or wondrous ways in which they intend to bring some of these gems to light in a way Jimi would have dug. She also said “No” a lot and gave a contrary answer about her estranged brother Leon, who was shut out from any estate inheritance, saying “I support my brother,” and in the next breath, “I’m not sure about supporting, you know. He was offered a job years ago, and he didn’t want it.”

Producer Thomas Tull, who’s been involved/responsible for everything from “It Might Get Loud” to “Watchmen” to yesterdays turd, “Clash of the Titans” is working on an untitled Jimi Hendrix project – whether Janie is on board yet we don’t know. Maybe this will be the one. But who could play such a legend?

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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