Big Names Interested in Daniel Johnston Biopic

     March 19, 2010


Though his life has already been the subject of a compelling documentary, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, there’s certainly more to be told about the life of the truly odd and troubled outside musician Johnston, and it seems filmmaker David Miller (My Suicide) is already hard at work on sharing it.  Here’s what he to say about the project to Pedestrian, via the Playlist:

“I’ve got a few things going – we’re doing a Daniel Johnston biopic and I’m Producing and Writing and Gabriel Sunday our star [from My Suicide] he’s going to be Directing and playing young Daniel. It’s going to be an epic super hero story and it’s going to be a narrative biopic so it doesn’t really cover any of the same stuff that the famous Devil And Daniel Johnston Documentary that won Sundance in 2005 covers.”

Struggling with mental illness that has had him institutionalized, Johnston has managed to create a truly unique brand of folk music and also become an accomplished painter, so it’s only natural this project would draw the interest of some big-name actors. Hit the jump to hear who Miller says those might be.

the_devil_and_daniel_johnston_poster.jpgIn his conversation with Pedestrian, Miller discussed the challenge that comes with portraying large chunks of anyone’s life in a biopic: How do you continue with the casting as the subject ages? Here’s who he says have at least shown interest in taking on the task of playing the older Johnston:

“That’s a really good question. We’re either putting Gabriel in a fat suit or there’s so many people that are reaching out that are huge Daniel Johnston fans. Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly for example, Johnny Depp’s a big Daniel Johnston fan though we’d like him to play the older brother. But we haven’t really arrived at that yet – we’re just in the scripting process at the moment but once we get the script finished we’ll be able to get a better handle on what the budget will be.”

Nothing like dropping some big names to get attention, but I’d imagine he’s right that a lot of actors would indeed be interested in the chance to take on the life a true American original. Definitely stay tuned for more details on this as we get them.

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