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Andre Benjamin is Jimi Hendrix: See the singer's soft side in first 'All is By My Side' clip -- EXCLUSIVE

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Filmmakers have been trying to bring Jimi Hendrix’s life to the big screen for decades, and with JIMI: All is By My Side, John Ridley has finally succeeded where directors Paul Greengrass and the Hughes brothers had been stymied in recent years. The Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave brought the iconic rock star, who died in 1970 at the age of 27, back to life with the help of André Benjamin. The movie didn’t have the support of the Hendrix estate so it makes do without his music, but critics nevertheless applauded when the biopic debuted at last fall’s Toronto Film Festival. The movie makes its U.S. debut on March 12 at SXSW.

All Is By My Side tells the Hendrix’s in the year before he became a rock legend, when he was still a back-up guitarist named Jimmy James playing dingy New York clubs. A well-connected groupie named Linda Keith, however, sees in him something special. She brings him to 1966 London, where Jimmy transforms into Jimi. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll ensue. The film culminates with Hendrix being invited to the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, the historic all-star concert that made him an icon.

In an exclusive clip from the film, Jimi and Linda (Imogen Poots) have a heart-to-heart before he flies to California. They’re no longer together, but he wrote a song about her, he says. Linda, however, is the kind of gal that inspires lots of rock songs: Keith Richards penned “Ruby Tuesday” about her. In the clip below, you can sort of see why.
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Toronto 2013: Andre Benjamin plays Jimi Hendrix in a very novel biopic

I’m a sucker for biopics and always have been, but I understand why they’re often thought of as a second-rate form. In a sense, each one is trying to tell two stories at once: the chronicle of its subject’s artistic or political or whatever other worldly achievement (the thing that made us hungry to see a biopic about him or her in the first place), and, at the same time, the private, tumultuous “human drama” of it all. Given that these two dimensions can’t really be separated, and that you have to cram both of them into two hours, it’s amazing, when you think about it, that the best biopics, from Lenny (1974) to Kinsey (2004) to Malcolm X (1992) to Sweet Dreams (1985) to Milk (2008)  to Ed Wood (1994) to Ray (2004), are as rich and full and authentic as they are. Nevertheless, I think that the hyper scrutiny of the “reality” era, when the lives of celebrities (including dead ones) are more subject to exposure than ever before, has made us all a little suspect of the tidiness, the compressions, the convenient fictionalizations, the cut corners that are an essential element of almost any biopic. The good ones are told with more explicitness and authenticity than they used to be, but as a basic form, the biopic now seems cornier than ever. We can see through it, even as we’re hooked on it. READ FULL STORY

Andre 3000 channels Jimi Hendrix in 'All Is By My Side' -- PHOTO

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Music biopic fans were dealt a serious blow yesterday when news broke that Sacha Baron Cohen had dropped out of a long-planned film about Freddie Mercury. Thankfully, they’ve still got something else to look forward to: All Is By My Side, a film that covers Jimi Hendrix’s early years (and, interestingly enough, doesn’t actually feature any of Hendrix’s famous songs).

Outkast’s André 3000 — a.k.a. André Benjamin — will play the Seattle-born guitar virtuoso as a struggling musician in London, shortly before the release of Are You Experienced, the album that would be his big break. The movie is set to debut at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival — and in anticipation of its release, TIFF has just released the first photo of André as Hendrix.

Can an Outkast convincingly play an icon? Check out the picture above — then speculate away.

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