All the way back in 2004, P!nk was slated to star in a Janis Joplin biopic from director Penelope Spheeris that never saw the light of day. So you can count on Howard Stern to get her reflecting on the contentious matter nearly 20 years later.
The project was tentatively titled “The Gospel According to Janis” and featured a years-in-the-making script co-written by Spheeris (“Wayne’s World”) and Brad Vanderburg. It would have marked P!nk’s screen acting debut in a starring role; when she was cast, Spheeris called it “the most gratifying moment in my film career.” So what happened?
With the gift of hindsight, the Grammy-winning singer in part blamed Hollywood sexism for why the project — and others like it — still hasn’t been made.
“I think that it’s a lot harder to get a biopic done about a female, that’s why we don’t have that many,” P!nk said.
Sitting with “The Howard Stern Show” in promotion of her new album “Trustfall” on Thursday, P!nk was asked point blank what happened to the project.
“I’ve seen you do Janis Joplin, and you do it better than anybody,” Stern began. “Those are tough songs to sing. What happened with that project?”
“Yeah, you know, I think it’s, uh, I think honestly Janis doesn’t want it made,” P!nk responded, alluding to the other failed iterations of a Joplin biopic over the years. (Also in the mix in 2004 was Joplin biopic from Paramount and Lakeshore titled “Piece of My Heart” starring Renée Zellweger, and there have been many others.)
“I think there’s a lot of things that go into that. I think that it’s a lot harder to get a biopic done about a female, that’s why we don’t have that many,” P!nk continued. “And also, I just don’t think that Janis wants it made. There was some — Linda Perry was once slated to play Janis. Brittany Murphy. There’s been so many people. I mean, there has to have been at least 10 projects that didn’t fly.”
Gesturing to the sky wistfully, P!nk explained, “And to me, that’s, like, that’s a bigger … Janis wasn’t happy. Also, they wanna make it a happy ending. It’s not a happy ending. I mean, it’s a completion, but it’s not the truth.”
“What do you mean? You saw an actual script?” Stern asked.
“Oh yeah, and they wanted it to be that Janis chose to just end it — no, dude, she overdosed,” P!nk said. “And also, I wasn’t there. I can’t say the whole story, but it certainly wasn’t a happy ending. She wasn’t even, ‘Pearl’ didn’t even take off until after she died.”
Looping back to P!nk’s original theory about the projects’ inability to get made, Stern said that he personally knows three actresses “who were supposed to play Janis Joplin.”
“And it would’ve been, I’m sure, a remarkable movie,” Stern said. “You think that’s what it is? You think Hollywood doesn’t want to make a Janis Joplin movie because she’s a woman?”
“I think it’s part of it,” P!nk responded.
Watch the full “Howard Stern Show” segment in the video above.