Rock biopics are tricky to get right. Sometimes it works — as was the case of Joaquin Phoenix’s spot-on portrayal of Johnny Cash in the 2005 flick “Walk the Line” — and other times we wind up with Chad Lowe channeling John Denver in the cringe-worthy “Take Me Home.”
“Jimi: All Is by My Side,” the Jimi Hendrix biopic starring OutKast’s André 3000 (real name André Benjamin) in the title role, won’t have its official premiere until next Wednesday at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, during South by Southwest. So it’s too soon to give the final verdict on André’s portrayal of Hendrix, but some footage from the film has leaked, and we thought it instructive to compare them with actual clips of Hendrix.
Word of warning: the scenes are strictly dialogue. The Hendrix estate didn’t bless the filmmakers with any of Hendrix’s classic original music. Instead, the final film will feature André as Hendrix cover the Beatles, the Troggs, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, and others.
“Jimi: All Is by My Side” is the brainchild of Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave” screenwriter John Ridley, who wrote and directed the film. Ridley was inspired to do the film after he heard the Hendrix instrumental rarity “Sending My Love to Linda,” about Linda Keith, who was the guitarist’s muse. (Keith also inspired her former boyfriend, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, to write “Ruby Tuesday.”)
So let’s break this down.
In this first scene, we see André as Hendrix with a British accent trying to make moves on Linda Keith (Imogen Poots) by inviting her to the Monterey Pop Festival.