EXCLUSIVE: After appearing as a producer on his next film Killer of the Flower Moon, Apple in the Martin Scorsese look to have their next project together and it’s topics at the center of a group that knows the Oscar winner well. Sources say Deadline, Scorsese is on board to direct and produce a new untitled biopic on the rock band Grateful Dead along with Jonah Hill on board to play the frontman of the group, Jerry Garcia. Hill will also produce the image.
Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who received rave reviews for Penning American Crime Story: Impeachment, write the script with Rick Yorn of LBI Entertainment, who joins Hill and Scorsese as producers. Bernie Cahill, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Trixie Garcia and Eric Eisner will exec produce. Insiders add that with the band and group management participating in the film, Apple has the rights to use the musical catalog for the film.
While it is unknown what is covered in the film, the group’s story goes back to the formation of the band in the Bay Area in the rise of the psychedelic counterculture of the 60’s. They have recorded further albums and toured, with Deadhead fans following them throughout the country for long rave-like jam sessions. The good times came to an end when bandleader Jerry Garcia died in 1995, though surviving members did their best to keep going.
Scorsese has a long history of producing and directing rock docs over the years, including a Grateful Dead doc Long strange journey in 2017, but this would be the first time the director has taken the biopic path to an iconic musical act. The project also unites Hill and Scorsese, who first worked together The Wolf of Wall Street, which won Hill’s second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The two have since been looking for something to work on together and the opportunity to play a rock legend like Garcia was too good to pass up for Hill.
The project is another big win for Apple as it continues to build a versatile and powerful slate of star-studded film projects with Scorsese’s. Killer of the Flower Moon among the first major scores for the studio. This film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons and recently completed films. Other recent films added to the slate include Ridley Scott’s Napoleon image Kitbag Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jodie Comer, Antoine Fuqua’s Emancipation with Will Smith and a new untitled with George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
The film also comes on the heels of Scorsese and its production banner Sikelia Productions signing a first look deal with Apple last year for film and TV. Scorsese and Hill are reproduced by WME and LBI Entertainment. Alexander and Karaszewski are reproduced by Management 360 and attorney Christine Cuddy at Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo.