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Nina Arianda as Janis Joplin: Genius Move, Or Major Miscasting?

Nina Arianda as Janis Joplin: Genius Move, Or Major Miscasting? 1

Broadway darling Nina Arianda has reportedly been tapped to play Janis Joplin in a biopic of the iconic ‘ 60’s rocker in what can only be described as a stroke of casting genius or a monumental miscasting nightmare.

A slew of actresses and singers from Zooey Deschanel to Pink would have killed for the part.

But producer Peter Newman decided to go with Arianda, according to deadline.com. While the 28-year-old actress is highly talented, her big-screen acting experience is limited. Most of her work has been on Broadway, where she’s won a Tony. And, she doesn’t even resemble Joplin!

Director Sean Durkin would have his work cut out for him no matter who played the singer. Joplin, who died in 1970, at 27, from alcohol and a heroin overdose, is a singular character.

Her personality was so idiosyncratic, her dress so eccentric and her singing style so distinctive, capturing her mannerisms and style on the big screen would make even Meryl Streep think twice about taking the role.

The film will focus on the last six months of her life, when she was at her craziest. Her sudden and unexpected death shocked rock and roll. Only sixteen days earlier, rock icon Jimi Hendrix also died at 27 from a drug overdose.

Weighing in her favor, Arianda holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program. She debuted on Broadway last year as Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday, with James Belushi and Robert Sean Leonard.

She made her mark in 2010 in Off-Broadway comedy-drama Venus in Fur . She received dazzling reviews when the show moved to Broadway last year, and won a Tony for her portrayal of actress-seductress Vanda. Her film work has been limited.

She’s had roles in Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris,” “Tower Heist” and “Win Win.” That means the Joplin biopic will be her first lead on the big screen. The production has one thing going for it, however. It will include “exclusive use of 21 of Joplin’s best-known songs,” according to deadline.

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