Talk about brilliant casting. Andre 3000 delivers an uncanny and pitch-perfect performance of Jimi Hendrix in the latest trailer for “Jimi: All Is By My Side”, the upcoming biopic written and directed by the Oscar award winning John Ridley, notable for penning the screenplay for the critically acclaimed 12 Years A Slave released in October of last year.
Set during Jimi Hendrix’s early years as a rock musician, “Jimi: All By My Side” shows a young Hendrix during the years of 1966-67′ when he was touring locally performing covers, and before he began to record his own solo material. While most biopics for an artist would typically focus on their entire career, the choice to focus on this short period of his life was deliberate by the producers, and not at all influenced by the fact that the estate of Jimi Hendrix refused to give up the rights to his music for this film. Speaking to Rolling Stone, producer Sean McKittrick explained that the idea of using Hendrix’s own music was never a thought and that the film was always meant to focus on Jimi’s early years, as they felt it would be preferable to following his full life story (as everyone already knows the ending).
“This is the story of Jimi being discovered as a backup musician and how he went to London and became Jimi Hendrix”, said McKittrick stating that a full life story would be “like making a movie about Kurt Cobain…we all know how that story ends.”
Even without Jimi’s original material, it’s evident from the first footage released via this debut trailer that Andre 3000 is an incredible choice for the role. It’s been said that Andre 3000 practiced guitar for six hours a day to prepare for this role, and from the inflections in his voice down to the mannerisms on stage, it’s clear Andre 3000 cut no corners in his portrayal of Hendrix. It should be stated however; that while some critics have praised Andre’s portrayal of Jimi, at least one person, Hendrix’s former flame Kathy Etchingham, feels the movie is inaccurate and an insult to Jimi’s legacy and that the producers did not solicit her help for factual accuracy when she offered it:
“I wrote them an email when I first heard about it saying if you want any help don’t hesitate to contact me. They didn’t reply. A lot of people will go and see it who have never read any of the biographies and they will think it’s gospel truth. I don’t want it to fundamentally change history.”
Whether you watch the film expecting it to be a fair and honest portrayal of Jimi’s early days, or a “Hollywood-ized” dramatization of Hendrix himself is your choice. Either way, you’ll be able to make that decision for yourself when the movie arrives in theaters September 26th.
Watch the official trailer for “Jimi: All Is By My Side” below: