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Cryptical Development: Jerry Garcia biopic in the works

Posted by Ty Burr  November 13, 2008 09:59 AM

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According to Reuters, we may soon be seeing a bio-pic about the early years of Grateful Dead patriarch Jerry Garcia, a development which is probably enough to get closet-Deadhead fiftysomethings to dig the joss sticks and bootleg tapes out of the basement (by which I mean you, Bob). Producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa ("Little Miss Sunshine") have bought the rights to "Dark Star," a 1996 oral history of Captain Trips, and are planning a feature film focusing on the late guitarist's pre-Dead youth. (He was in the military for a spell, apparently.) This could work -- the early days of the Beatles became the source for the excellent 1994 drama "Backbeat" -- but casting, of course, is key, and it's already the subject of much online speculation. Some are suggesting Jack Black. Others say, nuh-uh, Philip Seymour Hoffman. There's a whole discussion going on at Film School Rejects, but they're seriously reaching. (Sample comment: "if shia grew his jewfro out i could kinda see it".)

I was coming up completely blank until I ran across this photo (below) of a very young Garcia in his beatnik jugband days, and it hit me: Edward Norton. Remember, this is Garcia the early years, and Norton's almost still young enough to give it a go. And he already has the fu manchu; all he has to do is dye it black like he seems to have done below. But feel free to second guess me and offer your own suggestions.


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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.

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