It’s been a couple of years now that Andre 3000 has been associated with a lead role in a Jimi Hendrix biopic, and that delay – plus Three Stacks’ general on-and-off reclusivity — meant it sure felt like this project was never actually going to happen. But, surprise!!!, it’s happening. The Playlist notes:
Titled "All Is by My Side," the film is gearing up start lensing in three weeks in Ireland, with a six week production schedule mapped out. John Ridley, the writer behind "Three Kings," "U-Turn" and the forthcoming "Twelve Years A Slave" has penned the script and will be directing as well ... The film will essentially cover Hendrix's breakthrough period from 1966 to 1967, when he was discovered in a New York club by Linda Keith, a model and girlfriend of Keith Richards at the time, who introduced him to The Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham and producer Seymour Stein (who both declined to work with him), and eventually to manager/producer Chas Chandler who helped launch his career. He went to London, recorded Are You Experienced? and the rest, as they say, is history.
There’s still a question as to whether or not the Hendrix estate has given the movie rights to use the man’s songs, which will go a long way toward deciding if this production lives up to his legacy. (How could you possibly make a Hendrix movie without Hendrix songs, you ask? In 2000 Avon Barksdale and Showtime did just that, which is possibly why no one remembers that Hendrix exists.) And there’s still the question of whether or not Andre 3000 can act, as — the alley-oop scene in Semi Pro excepted — he’s never quite distinguished himself on the big screen. But casting the preternaturally-charming-and-smooth-and-badass-but-also-clearly-pensive-and-troubled-and-sensitive 3000 as Hendrix seems like a potent no-brainer. And, OK, yes, Andre doesn’t shred, but he did supposedly write “Hey Ya” using the only four chords he knew on guitar at the time.
That said: Even if the movie is a rousing success, it’s still not what the people want. It’s not new music. Some fans get frustrated when they see 3000 off doing guest verses, or gallivanting around in Gillette commercials. It’s hard not to throw your hands up and ask, "Why isn’t he using his God-given talents for good and not for
evil pushing disposable razors and appearing on Ke$ha remixes?"
In a GQ interview from earlier this year, Andre repeated the same tepid promises about upcoming releases (a solo album will “hopefully ... come out this year. As far as OutKast, I really don't know if or when that will happen”). Later, without explicitly articulating why he’s waited half a decade and counting to drop new tunes, he said, “This biggest misconception ... that it's easy for me, I guess, is the biggest misconception. People think you kind of ride on this wave, this non-human wave, and I think that's kind of wrong to put that on entertainers ... The biggest fear is me thinking about it too much — and that's why I'm just trying to catch the energy just like I've done before. What you all have heard before, I was not thinking, I was just going on cruise control.” Maybe he won’t ever get back there, to that cruise control. But I’d rather Andre admit he’s lost the muse rather than force something out because people are clamoring for it. So for now we just have to be happy with a Hendrix biopic. That’s not so bad.
By the way, the original report about the movie came from The Irish Film & Television Network, which has also provided a helpful list of shooting locations, in case any Andre stalkers feel like taking their game international:
IFTN understands that locations pencilled in to be used include Bray Head Hotel; the John Player Cigarette Factory on South Circular Road; Bray itself; a number of nightclubs in Bray, Dun Laoghaire and various other locations around Dublin.