Is Hollywood Ready For James Bond As Townes Van Zandt?

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Coinciding with the late Kurt Cobain's 43rd birthday last week came news on the ongoing development of a supposed Hollywood biopic. Ideas for Cobain flick started being bandied about almost before the lid was sealed shut on the Nirvana frontman's urn after his April 1994 suicide. But that's the way the entertainment industry is, rushing to the scene of the crime to attempt to capitalize in whatever way, shape or form it can. Luckily, both Johnny Cash and Ray Charles were alive and kicking just long enough to help pick the men who would play them in their own repective life stories.

Texas is awash in near-mythic musicians ripe for portrayal on the big screen, with some having sadly short life spans. We have already seen a handful of films go through the theaters with varying results. Gary Busey knocked Buddy Holly out of the park in 1978's The Buddy Holly Story, and Jennifer Lopez quickly became a household name and ass-tastic pinup after donning the sequined bustier for 1997's Selena. George Strait's country-schlock masterpiece Pure Country wasn't quite a biopic so much as a morality tale and an excuse for King George to wear a mullet wig and grow a beard. A Janis Joplin film has been kicked around for almost three decades to no avail; the last we heard, studio execs were aiming for She & Him's Zooey Deschanel to play Joplin.

Our state has a knack for helping create some of the most intriguing, innovative and dangerous people to ever strum a guitar or pick up a microphone. You could say it's in the air, the water or maybe our beloved tacos, but Texas musicians from Scott Joplin and Bob Wills to prodigal sons like Britt Daniel and Gibby Haynes all share that common thread. Plenty of other Texas artists, both living and dead, deserve the five-star Hollywood treatment. Rocks Off picked out a few, and even went to the trouble of casting them so the producers won't have to.

Lightnin' Hopkins

Texas' preeminent blues icon still mystifies and helps define the blues of this state 28 years after his death. Most of the places he haunted in his heyday are grown-over and changed, but that's nothing a few million dollars of Hollywood cash and tax money couldn't fix. Throw the star of Hotel Rwanda, Don Cheadle, the role as the younger Hopkins and age him with make-up to play the bluesman wailing away with the Thirteenth Floor Elevators. Plus, T-Bone Burnett on soundtrack duty wouldn't hurt matters in the slightest.

Our Pick: Don Cheadle

Hollywood's Pick: Morgan Freeman

Roky Erickson

Speaking of the Elevators, a Roky Erickson biopic would be an epic of drugs and mental illness and a challenge for any actor. It would be harrowing to see his wilderness years in institutional lock-up dramatized for the big screen. For our money Valient Himself of Valient Thorr would be the perfect fit as Erickson in his wooly prime. They both speak the same and Himself sports the same beard that Erickson has had for most of his life. Plus if you have seen Thorr live you will agree that Himself can pull off deranged and feral.

Our Pick: Valient Himself

Hollywood's Pick: Leonardo DiCaprio

Beyonce Knowles

Knowing Lady B, she would demand to play herself in this biopic tracking her rise from her Destiny's Child youth to becoming the white Lady Gaga. Sure there is not much to speak of other than starring in a string of scantily-clad videos, snagging Grammys, getting snubbed for an Oscar for Dreamgirls, and being betrothed to Hova, but it would be a sure-fire blockbuster, if only in Houston. We're thinking more along the lines of a fancier and grittier Glitter.

Our Pick: Beyonce Knowles

Hollywood's Pick: Duh.

ZZ Top

This movie would be ridiculously hilarious and filthy and more on the lines of a 40-year long director's cut of The Hangover. There are so many moment in Frank, Dusty, and Billy's history that we would want to see. Running the streets of Houston as faux-mods with the Moving Sidewalks in the '60s, Dusty and Billy both showing up after a hiatus having grown beards, or even behind the scenes at the Eliminator videos. Something tells us the Top would have given even Motley Crue a run for their money in their prime. Owen and Luke Wilson with Zach Galifinakis would be amazing as the trio boozing their way through the past four decades under kingly beards.

Our Pick: Zach Galifinakis, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson

Hollywood Pick: A bunch of Twilight kids...

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Are you kidding us? This would be like the biggest father-son bonding movie of all time. Raise your hand if you grew up hearing "Crossfire" on Saturday mornings while your father cursed at the family car while changing the oil. A Stevie Ray Vaughn biopic is overdue, and with the 20th anniversary of his death coming up this summer, a long enough time has passed for his memory to be firmly ensconced in Texas blues lore. Let's hand the role to Mark Wahlberg and see what he can do with that Mexican poncho and a Stratocaster.

Our Pick: Mark Wahlberg

Hollywood's Pick: Guy Pearce

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