Jonah Hill Is Playing A Music Legend In New Martin Scorsese Movie

Jonah Hill is teaming up with Martin Scorsese for biopic about one of the most famous bands ever. This could really be something and Hill looks like the perfect person to play the lead.

By Dylan Balde | Updated

jonah hill

Psychedelic rock has a new dealer. Jonah Hill is taking on jam band pioneer the Grateful Dead for his next blockbuster project with director Martin Scorsese, a Deadline exclusive reports on Thursday. He will be leading the Bohemian Rhapsody of musical improvisation as late frontman Jerry Garcia. The Bay Area native is a beloved icon of both the anti-establishment revolution of the 60s and the mixed-genre movement that launched more mainstream groups like Phish and the Dave Matthews Band in later years.

The untitled biopic will be Scorsese’s first, having only made rock documentaries in the past. He had previously executive produced Long Strange Trip, a six-part Amazon Prime Video miniseries about the life and times of the Grateful Dead; it was originally released as an almost four-hour movie in January 2017. All remaining members of the band featured in interviews in honor of Jerry Garcia, who passed away from a heart attack in 1995. Drummer Bill Kreutzmann’s son Justin was among the producers. The upcoming biographical film is Martin Scorsese’s first with Jonah Hill since The Wolf of Wall Street and his second collaboration with Apple TV+ after Leonardo DiCaprio’s Killers of the Flower Moon.

Deadheads have much to look forward to in Martin Scorsese’s cinematic rendering of the Grateful Dead’s longstanding psychedelic rock legacy. Aside from the fact that The Irishman director is a Deadhead himself, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart of The Dead — all former members of the Grateful Dead — are executive producers alongside Jerry Garcia’s youngest daughter Trixie. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who received universal acclaim for their work in Ryan Murphy’s The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, are penning the script. An upper-tier crew, a compelling subject, and only the greatest storytellers serving as the backbone of the film — it’s quintessential Scorsese like no other. As far as acting talents go, Jonah Hill is a dramatic powerhouse; aside from being a frequent Scorsesian collaborator, the Don’t Look Up star has received Oscar nominations for The Wolf of Wall Street and Moneyball.

Under Martin Scorsese’s direction, Apple will have complete access to the Grateful Dead’s entire musical catalog thanks to the band members’ stake in the film. Fans will be hearing fresh renditions of the group’s best songs, right down to the hits immediately predating Garcia’s death. Similar to Bryan Singer’s Queen biopic and Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman, Jonah Hill and the main cast will be performing.

The Grateful Dead was founded in Palo Alto, California in 1965 and originally comprised Jerry Garcia on lead guitar and vocals, Bob Weir on rhythm guitar, Pigpen McKernan on keyboards and harmonica, Phil Lesh on bass, and Bill Kreutzmann on drums. Credited as the Godfather of jam band, the Grateful Dead popularized mixed-genre rock music back when different styles dominated pop culture; they had no exact, preset sound and constantly dabbled in a mix of rock, folk, country, jazz, gospel, blues, bluegrass, and — their most famous designation yet — psychedelic rock. The latter is a musical style derived from the feeling of using certain hallucinogens to achieve a desired high; the Grateful Dead evoked the same level of creative influx by developing rock music that felt surreal and didn’t necessarily require real LSD to appreciate. When Garcia died in 1995, the band split up. Former members regrouped over the years as the Other Ones and most recently, the Dead. Jonah Hill and Martin Scorsese’s take will presumably cover the original crew’s founding years and the road to building the legacy they would eventually be celebrated for.

Martin Scorsese’s Grateful Dead biopic starring Jonah Hill as Jerry Garcia will be produced by Hill’s production company Strong Baby alongside business partner Matt Dines, Rick Yorn of LBI Entertainment, and Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions. The latter signed a first-look deal with Apple last year to include multiple TV and movie projects.