The story of The Grateful Dead, one of rock music’s all-time greatest bands, will be told in an upcoming untitled biopic, courtesy of Apple. The company has lined up esteemed filmmaker Martin Scorsese to direct a movie based on the psychedelic rock band with Jonah Hill on board to play late frontman Jerry Garcia. American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski are penning the screenplay.
Jonah Hill is also set to produce the Grateful Dead biopic under his Strong Baby banner alongside producing partner Matt Dines, with Scorsese and Rick Yorn of LBI Entertainment also producing. The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann are executive producing with Garcia’s late daughter Trixie Garcia, Eric Eisner, and Bernie Cahill. With the band and their management involved with the production, Apple has secured the rights to use the group’s musical catalog.
This is the first musical biopic for Martin Scorsese, though he has directed several rock music documentaries over the years, including the Grateful Dead doc Long Strange Trip in 2017. The project will also serve to reunite Scorsese with Jonah Hill, as the actor previously starred in The Wolf of Wall Street, a movie that earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. Word is the two have been looking to work together on something new ever since and this just so happened to be the perfect project, with playing Jerry Garcia an opportunity that was reportedly “too good to pass up” for Hill.
It’s not entirely clear what will be covered in the untiled Grateful Dead biopic. The band, whose hits include classics like “Touch of Grey,” “Truckin’,” and “Sugar Magnolia,” originally formed in 1965 as The Warlocks before taking on their much more famous name soon after. For decades, the group continued to make music and perform live for their ever-growing following of Deadheads. Sadly, it came to an end for lead guitarist and vocalist Jerry Garcia in 1995 when the iconic musician passed away at the age of 53.
It would seem that musical biopics have only been increasing in popularity in recent years, in part due to the success of movies like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. Earlier this year, Cher celebrated her 75th birthday by announcing that a biopic was in the works at Universal. Meanwhile, several other biopics about famous musicians are also in the works, with other upcoming movies including movies about Buddy Holly, Janet Jackson, David Bowie, Whitney Houston, Boy George, Elvis Presley, the Bee Gees, and Amy Winehouse, among many others.
The Grateful Dead biopic follows Martin Scorsese developing another big project for Apple featuring an all-star cast of its own. Called Killers of the Flower Moon, the Western stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, Tantoo Cardinal, and Brendan Fraser. That movie doesn’t yet have a release date. The same can be said for the untitled Grateful Dead biopic, and it’s not yet clear when filming will begin. This news was first reported by Deadline.