The Joplinability Index: Ranking the Long List of Stars Rumored to Play Janis Joplin

With Amy Adams the latest actress rumored to be up for a Janis Joplin biopic -- in one directed by City of God helmer Fernando Meirelles, no less -- it seems like as good a time as any to take stock in the historically difficult and diverse "casting" process to see which actress would play the late vocalist. Ahead, Movieline offers a timeline of the events -- and an index of the possibilities.

· 1999: Lili Taylor and Melissa Etheridge

Because one biopic about the late singer's life was never going to be enough, there have seemingly always been two gestating in Hollywood. Back in January 1999 it was assumed that one of the films would star Lili Taylor as Joplin with help from producer Jonathan Demme. Melissa Etheridge was attached to another version -- financed by Lakeshore Entertainment -- but apparently because of a poor screen test was let go. Clearly Etheridge has the voice to sing like Joplin, but the idea of an actress as intense as Taylor taking on the iconic role seems almost too good to be true. Alas, it was.

Joplinability: Etheridge, 6 out of 10; Taylor, 8 out of 10.

· 2005: Renée Zellweger and Pink

Spurred on by the 35th anniversary of Joplin's death, the competing projects heated up once again in 2005. Penelope Spheeris of Wayne's World fame grabbed pop star Pink for her film, which was tentatively titled The Gospel According to Janis. Said Spheeris at the time: "For me, nobody else can play Janis Joplin. So if Pink's not attached, then maybe I'm not attached." Meanwhile, Renée Zellweger was circling the Lakeshore version, which had previous set its sights on Etheridge and Brittany Murphy (now that would have been interesting). Neither came to fruition, but just imagine the stomping, scenery-chewing performance that Zellweger would have given -- think: Cold Mountain mixed with Empire Records.

Joplinability: Pink, 4 out of 10; Murphy, 6 out of 10; Zellweger, 7 out of 10.

· 2007: Zooey Deschanel

Remember what Spheeris said about Pink? Forget that! Zooey Deschanel came aboard The Gospel According to Janis in 2007, filled with wide-eyed optimism and a few more details about what the movie would look like: "There are some flashbacks, but [the flick concentrates] on her last day. The script makes this day a microcosm for the rest of her life. It's a sort of microscope rather than a general overview." Fun. But, her singing voice aside, does anything Deschanel has ever done -- from (500) Days of Summer to She & Him -- make you think she'd be able to pull off Janis Joplin? Didn't think so.

Joplinability: 5 out of 10.

· 2008: Katharine McPhee

While doing press for The House Bunny, the former American Idol finalist expressed her interest in playing Joplin, but confessed it might not work. "I don't know if I would be the best choice for Janis Joplin just because I don't think I really have that kind of a voice." Agreed.

Joplinability: 3 out of 10.

· 2009: Vanessa Hudgens

Like McPhee, Hudgens used a summer press tour -- this time for Bandslam -- to tell the world about her Joplin fetish. Thanks for sharing!

Joplinability: 0 out of 10.

· 2010: Amy Adams

While the Deschanel version of The Gospel According to Janis is still supposedly going to get made sometime, this Amy Adams-led version would presumably start shooting this year -- Twilight Saga producer Wyck Godfrey said he was planning to work on it while Breaking Dawn was filming. Don't hold your breath, but in the decades-long race to see who will play Janis Joplin, Amy Adams might finally be your winner. That she doesn't seem any more suited for the part than Deschanel, however, means expectations should probably be tempered.

Joplinability: 5 out of 10.

[via The Playlist]



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