Confessed Deadhead Martin Scorsese has committed to directing and co-producing the film, which will feature comedic actor Jonah Hill as the band's famous singer. Scorsese and Hill are reuniting for the first time since 2013's Wolf of Wall Street, in which Hill played Leonardo DiCaprio's business partner. The new biopic will be airing on Apple TV+, but no official release date has been announced.
In addition to playing the lead role, Hill is co-producing the film through his Strong Baby company, along with production partner Matt Dines. According to Deadline, the script will be written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, writers of the hit American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson. Rick Yorn of LBI Entertainment will also be co-writing and co-producing.
Beyond these few key details, Apple has yet to reveal any other information about the production. The biopic hasn't even been named yet, and it is still unclear whether it will trace the entire history of the band, or zero in on one specific era or event. The Dead's career spanned three decades from their birth in the 1960s Bay Area psychedelic scene until Garcia's death in 1995, though, so there is no shortage of material to cover.
Fortunately, Apple has reportedly scored the rights to actually use the Dead's music in the film, so fans will not have to endure listening to a bad cover band play their favorite tunes. Apple has also signed the band's surviving members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman as executive producers, along with Garcia's daughter Trixie, which could boost the authenticity of the film as well.
Scorsese is an ideal choice for the project, given his involvement in many other high-profile classic rock films. The director kicked off his music documentary side-hustle in 1978 with The Last Waltz, covering the final concert of The Band, who played shows with the Dead in the '70s. More recently, Scorsese directed the classic Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home in 2005, and won an Emmy for his 2011 George Harrison documentary for HBO, Living in the Material World.
The director's new biopic will actually be his second venture into the world of the Dead. In 2017, Scorsese executive-produced Long Strange Trip, an extensive six-part Amazon miniseries chronicling the band's rise to fame. The untitled new biopic is also the second Scorsese-directed film to be snapped up by Apple TV+ in the past two years. Before signing the Dead pic, Apple bought the rights to Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon, which will feature Jesse Plemons, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.