The Bar Is Set And It’s High For Pink and Zellweger


Shades of Pink, ‘Rose’ and blues
Liz Smith
June 1, 2004

‘Onstage, I make love to 25,000 people, and then I go home alone,” said queen of the blues, Janis Joplin.

JOPLIN’S SHORT, frantic life and fabulous career is going to be examined on the big screen, starring either Pink or Renée Zellweger. Or both. Listen, if Alexander the Great can have two biopics in the works, why not this icon of sex, drugs, and rock and roll? (Despite her above complaint, Janis didn’t miss much in the bedroom, though the distortions of fame and her own insecurities often left the earthy, hard-drinking singer dissatisfied with her partners.)

Both Pink and Renée are prepping to step into Janis’ bell-bottoms, feathers, beads and bracelets, and practicing her famous raw wail.

Now the ladies have a bit more Janis they can study. A long-lost concert film, “Festival Express,” has been found. Shot in 1970, this shows Janis, The Grateful Dead, The Band and Buddy Guy performing and traveling through Canada. The movie will be released to theaters in the fall (exclusive showings this summer), but producers have kindly sent Renée and Pink their own copies.

Janis’ death in 1970 at age 27 was one of music’s great losses, right up there with Judy

Garland, Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline. Especially tragic in that Janis was at a creative peak when she overdosed on heroin. (Her biggest hit, “Me and Bobby McGee” was released posthumously.) Capturing her unique blend of raunch, soul and little-girl-lost vulnerability will be no easy task for the untested rocker Pink or even the Oscar-winning Renée.

As to further research, the dueling wannabes should look at “The Rose,” Bette Midler’s Oscar-nominated take on a Joplinesque singer. Not only does this stand as Bette’s peak as a dramatic actress, but also as one of the best screen performances by a female ever.

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