Cat Power is narrating the Janis Joplin documentary —here's what else you should know
Though it’s been 45 years since the tragic death of iconic singer-songwriter Janis Joplin at age 27, she left an entirely lasting effect on the music industry, inspiring everyone from Nina Simone and Stevie Nicks to P!nk.
And for years, Hollywood has been attempting to make a biopic about the performer—a fact that was expertly parodied on 30 Rock—but there’s still no telling when that will happen. So, director Amy Berg is delivering the next best thing: A documentary about the storied life of Joplin. Here’s everything we know about the project so far.
The documentary has officially been named Janis: Little Girl Blue…
The name is inspired by Joplin’s soulful cover of the popular ballad, “Little Girl Blue,” written by famed composer Richard Rodgers in 1935. Watch her perform the song on the This Is Tom Jones in 1969 below:
…and Cat Power will narrate.
Today, it was revealed that singer-songwriter Cat Power/Chan Marshall, who herself has struggled with addiction, will lend her smoky (speaking) vocals to the documentary, telling the story of Joplin’s tumultuous life from her childhood as a misfit growing up in Texas to her untimely death from a heroin overdose in 1970.
The film will premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September.
Like many documentaries, Janis will screen at a film festival most likely in hopes of picking up distributors before it goes out into the wider world. The movie will be shown alongside other hotly-anticipated films, including Everest, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Robin Wright, and The Danish Girl, which finds British actor Eddie Redmayne playing a trans-woman in the 1920s alongside up-and-comer Alicia Vikander.
Director Amy Berg is no stranger to hard-hitting documentaries.
Though her name might not ring a bell for some, Amy Berg has built her reputation on bringing complex stories to the silver screen. Her filmography as a director includes the Academy Award-nominated film, Deliver Us From Evil, about sex abuse cases in the Catholic Church, and the critically-acclaimed West of Memphis, which tells the story of three Arkansas teens who, it is believed, were wrongly convicted of murdering three boys in 1994. There’s no reason to believe that Berg, who’s been working on Janis for the past seven years, won’t apply the same passion and conviction she brings to her other films to her telling of the singer’s life story.
The documentary will be based on letters written by Joplin and much more.
Berg’s film has a distinct advantage over others trying to tell the Janis Joplin story in that she has the full cooperation of the Joplin Estate on her side. Not only will Cat Power read letters written by Joplin throughout her life, but audiences will also get to see interviews with Joplin’s friends, family, and contemporaries as well as her most electric live performances.
“I am ecstatic that the film is finally ready to be seen,” Berg told Variety. “This has been a labor of love, and I cannot wait to share Janis’ unique, intimate story with the world.”
We’re so, so looking forward to it.
(Image via Instagram)