Maybe Amy Adams Really Can Play Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Amy Adams

No sooner did news break that Amy Adams is going to play Janis Joplin in the long-awaited bio-pic of the drug-bedeviled, bisexual 1960s music icon than the outcry began.  Music critics and internet chatterers alike are bewailing the choice of Adams as Too Pretty, Not Gritty Enough, Not Gutsy Enough, Not Bluesy Enough, Too Sweet, Too Show Tunesy.  Indeed, some of the near-misses for a biopic (Zooey Deschanel, Pink, Melissa Etheridge) do seem more readily adaptable into portraying Joplin than Adams, of “Enchanted,” “Julie & Julia,” “Junebug” and “Doubt” fame.

However, we can’t help but remember, Oscar winner Jamie Foxx had lots’a naysayers before he proved just how great he could be with his tour-de-force performance as Ray Charles in “Ray.” 

How about the advance criticism over Joaquin Phoenix daring to play Johnny Cash (and doing his own singing?!  What, is he CRAZY?!!). An Oscar nomination for “Walk the Line” ensued. 

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes?  There were complaints that Martin Scorsese should have cast someone more grown-up-looking and manly than Leo for his “The Aviator” – until the actor turned in a performance that merited an Oscar nom. 

It doesn’t always work out when stars play stars, of course.  James Brolin was critically crucified for his performance as Clark Gable in the film “Gable and Lombard,” for instance, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s portrayal of Audrey Hepburn in 2000’s made-for television movie “The Audrey Hepburn Story” won her a host of back-handed compliments. Hewitt was said by many reviewers to do an adequate job with the role, and even those critics admitted they were surprised and had expected worse.

Still, when performers can nail such a performance, the rewards are big.

That’s exactly what happened to Robert Downey, Jr., who had done good work in a string of movies, but had yet to prove the immensity of his gifts, when he immersed himself in all things Charlie Chaplin to play Hollywood’s supreme genius in the 1992 “Chaplin.” He astonished critics and, yep, won an Academy Award nomination.

So Amy deserves a wait-and-see, at least.

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith, Uncategorized and tagged , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

3 thoughts on “Maybe Amy Adams Really Can Play Janis Joplin

  1. Pingback: Amy Adams may be able to pull off the role of Janis Joplin |

  2. Linda Dejongh

    Of course she can do it. Adams’ work in “Doubt” shows just how capably she can craft the part of a serious, no-makeup, non-bubbly nun. As to physical disparities between the two women, check out Joplin’s high school year book photo (cute and bubbly, you bet!) and do a similar search for photos of Adams in her final weeks of pregnancy. They could be sisters, and Janis is the cute one.Beyond that, Adams’ acting will convince us. No “Doubt.”

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