Music biopics often seem ubiquitous, but it's not always easy to drum up movies about famous tune-smiths.
Take Don Cheadle's in-the-making movie about the jazz trumpet player and composer Miles
This comes as a coterie of other movies about high-profile musicians are in various stages of development, including an as-yet unnamed project about Janis Joplin and the upcoming "Get on Up," chronicling the life of
But music movies can flounder in early stages of development for years as the filmmakers try to deal with their subjects' estates and acquire music rights. Though there are many attempts in progress, there hasn't yet been a theatrically released biopic of Elvis Presley, and the upcoming Jimi Hendrix movie can't use the guitar hero's actual songs, so its star
Despite all the hype behind biopics, their success is far from guaranteed. The genre hasn't produced a major box office triumph since "Walk the Line" (about
However, the movies can be boosters for the artists' catalog. VH1's recent made-for-TV feature on the saga of
Click through our photo gallery for details on some of the biopics of the past, present and future.
FIVE IN THE WORKS
"Kill the Trumpet Player" (Miles Davis)
It looks like Don Cheadle will direct himself in the titular role in this long-gestating project that will focus on jazz trumpet player Davis' return out of retirement from music in 1979. Production is supposed to start in June.
Untitled Janis Joplin movie
After nearly a decade of speculation and false starts, the long-awaited Janis Joplin film may be beginning to materialize.
"All is By My Side" (Jimi Hendrix)
Andre Benjamin (a.k.a. Andre 3000, from the hip-hop duo Outkast) is playing Hendrix in this film, but he won't be singing or playing the guitar legend's music, because the filmmakers couldn't get the rights. Benjamin will instead cover songs by the likes of the Beatles and
"Get on Up" (James Brown)
Set for release in 2014, this chronicle of the Godfather of Soul stars Chadwick Boseman, who made a splash as Jackie Robinson in
Untitled Kurt Cobain project
Not related to the 2005 Gus Van Sant movie "Last Days," which technically wasn't a biopic, though its protagonist closely resembled Cobain. The director for the current project is
"I'm Not There" (
A twist on the typical, straight-ahead biopic, this 2007 film featured multiple actors, including
"La Vie en Rose" (Edith Piaf)
"Walk the Line" (Johnny Cash)
"Ray" (Ray Charles)
The 2004 depiction of soul music genius Ray Charles resulted in two Oscars, including a best actor honor for
Oliver Stone's unflattering portrait of the band's enigmatic frontman
"Coal Miner's Daughter" (
Still the third-highest-gross musician biopic -- behind "Walk the Line" and "Ray" -- the 1980 Sissy Spacek-starring picture earned seven Oscar nominations and one win (for Spacek) in this story of the country music legend Loretta Lynn. Domestic gross: $67,182,787.
Follow on Twitter: @rfaughnder