Grabbing a Piece of Her Heart

By Guthmann, Edward | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), June 23, 1998 | Go to article overview

Grabbing a Piece of Her Heart


Guthmann, Edward, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


Janis Joplin never thought much of herself when she was alive. She didn't think she pretty, never experienced a stable love relationship, and she turned her blues singing and fondness for booze and drugs into therapy--a remedy to blunt the sadness in her heart.

No one, then, would be more surprised than Joplin herself to know that today, nearly 28 years after she died of a heroin overdose in a Hollywood motel, she's the subject of two musical biopics that are racing to beat each other to the screen.

The more publicized of the two, under development at Lakeshore Entertainment, was originally to star Melissa Etheridge. That project is on hold today as Etheridge cuts her sixth album for Island Records and prepares for the second child that her partner, filmmaker Julie Cypher, is expecting in November.

"Melissa will be in the studio for the next couple of months," says John Vlautin, senior vice president for media relations at Island Records, "She'll be busy with the album until the end of the year." It will be out in January, he adds, and Etheridge will launch a concert tour next spring. Given that schedule, Vlautin says, "I'd think the Janis thing would be off in the near or not-so-near future."

The other Joplin film would star the gifted Lili Taylor (I Shot Andy Warhol) and be directed and cowritten by Nancy Savoca, who guided Taylor through the fondly remembered Dogfight. Originally on TriStar's production slate, the film is now being produced independently. …

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