Veteran producers Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa and Eric Eisner are going truckin'. The trio have signed on to produce a biopic about Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia that will aim to offer a revealing look at the roots of the counterculture icon.
The untitled project will focus primarily on Garcia's early life in the Bay Area before he joined the band that would become the Grateful Dead -- a period that includes a stint in the military, a life-changing car accident and his first creative encounters with members of the Northern California music scene such as future Dead bassist Phil Lesh.
Producers have acquired rights to Robert Greenfield's book "Dark Star," an oral history of Garcia from dozens of people who knew him, including musicians, relatives and artist friends like Ken Kesey. Music rights also are being negotiated, though given that the period in Garcia's life that's covered is pre-Dead, producers could avoid some of the trickier negotiations.
Topper Lilien, who penned Universal's Paul Newman-starring drama "Where the Money Is," has been attached to write the screenplay.
Berger and Yerxa have collaborated on some of the biggest indie hits of the past decade, including "Election" and "Little Miss Sunshine," while Eisner produced the Sundance hit "Hamlet 2" with Berger and Yerxa and is attached to produce "Bait," a remake of Betrand Tavenier's mid-'90s French thriller.
The Dead has been the subject of number of documentaries -- including 1977's "The Grateful Dead Movie," a concert film Garcia directed -- but the story of Garcia's life has never been told on the big screen.