Former Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann have signed on as executive producers, guaranteeing Scorsese has access to the thousands of hours of official Grateful Dead material, from studio albums to live performances to official merchandise.
The script is currently being penned by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, whose previous credits include Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flint, and Man on the Moon. The film will be released on Apple and is part of Scorsese’s first-look deal with the company.
Scorsese had previously produced the Amazon documentary series Long Strange Trip, which tracked the Dead’s history and cultural impact. The film will reunite Hill and Scorsese, who last worked together on 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
It is currently not apparent if the film is set to cover the entire history of the Dead or just a small part of Garcia’s life. From the sounds of it, the film appears to be more in the mould of something like Bohemian Rhapsody, where the biopic is ostensibly about the band as a whole but will largely focus on its central figure. No word yet on who will be playing the remaining members of the Dead.
The Grateful Dead first formed under the leadership of Garcia and singer/keyboardist Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan. Although he dismissed the notion, Garcia was often seen as the leader and spokesperson for the band, spearheading most of their endeavours throughout the ’60s and ’70s. Garcia’s health deteriorated throughout the ’80s, and he fell into a diabetic coma in 1986.
Following his recovery, the band experienced a commercial breakthrough with 1987’s In The Dark, which contained the band’s only top ten hit in America, ‘Touch of Grey’. The Dead broke up after Garcia’s death in 1995.