I’ve been curious, but not enthusiastic, about the idea of a feature film about Janis Joplin.

The role of Joplin would be a demanding challenge for any actress. Quite a few have been associated with Joplin movies in the past, but none of them have yet delivered. Amy Adams? Sure, I’d love to see her take a shot at it. Renee Zellweger? That, too, could be interesting… and, potentially, a career-reviving role for an actress who’s been absent for too long. Zooey Deschanel? I love her, but it would be hard to hear such a sweet singing voice transformed into Joplin’s bluesy rasp and banshee howl.

I much prefer it when lesser-known actors take on roles like this, so that I’m able to suspend my disbelief. Otherwise, I’m sitting there in my theatre seat thinking about a performance… not the person that the film invites us to consider. It’s kind of like watching a stuntman doing stunts: Can he do it? Or will he crash? I can think of only a few occasions when famous actors played rock stars in a way that made me forget about the actor. (Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison was so convincing, it worked for me.)

So how about Nina Arianda as Janis Joplin?

Okay! Now we’re talking. This sounds promising.

I’m not familiar with Ariadna (although she apparently appeared in Win Win), but the praise she’s received for her stage performances are impressive.

I am familiar with the director of this project: Sean Durkin. And now, a Janis Joplin movie sounds doubly promising!

Here’s my review of his last movie, a film that tied me up in knots...

What’s your favorite case of an actor playing a rock star?

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