From Jimi to Ziggy: The seven music biopics we want to see

With a wealth of tuneful movies being released, Emma Day wonders what will be next and who she’d cast in the starring role

UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 24:  Photo of Jimi HENDRIX; performing live onstage David Redfern Premium Collection  (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***  al20au-jimi-hendrix.jpg
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Last year brought cinema-goers the release of Bohemian ­Rhapsody, which in turn scored Rami Malek an Oscar for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

And audiences' thirst for musical biopics – partially sated by films such as award-winners Walk the Line, Ray and La Vie en Rose – does not appear to have been fully quenched, with Elton John film Rocketman and Netflix's Motley Crue-themed movie The Dirt among the melodic releases for 2019.

Here, we round up seven more cinematic biographies from pop stars and rockers we’d like to see hit screens in the near future.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin. AP Photo file
Janis Joplin. AP Photo file

Does anyone epitomise the ambiance of the '60s quite like the Kozmic Blues songstress? The Texan-born blues, soul and rock star, who released just three albums in her all-too-short lifetime, rose to fame as part of psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company.

However, after splitting from the group in 1969, Joplin enjoyed solo success with hits such as To Love Somebody. Yet, despite her widespread acclaim, the singer battled drug addiction for many years, dying of a heroin overdose in 1970, aged 27.

Since her passing, musicians including The Mamas & the Papas, Leonard Cohen and Jane Birkin have crafted songs dedicated to Joplin’s legacy.

Who we'd like to see in the lead role: Chloe Sevigny

David Bowie

NEW YORK - 1973: Rock and roll musician David Bowie poses for a portrait dressed as 'Ziggy Stardust' in a hotel room in 1973 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption ***  al12ja-david-bowie08.jpg
David Bowie poses for a portrait dressed as Ziggy Stardust in a hotel room in 1973. Getty Images

A film about the Space Oddity star's life – entitled Stardust – is apparently already in the works, although we'd love to see our pick of actor below take over the titular role from the already-cast Johnny Flynn.

Bowie, who died in 2016, was one of the 20th century's most enduring, prolific and influential musicians, renowned for his innovative approach to songwriting and his ability to reinvent his on-stage persona. From the flamboyant Ziggy Stardust of the '70s to his '80s hits such as Let's Dance, the star produced a body of work that could fill multiple silver-screen renditions.

He remained active in the industry up until his death, releasing final album Blackstar just two days before he died of cancer, aged 69.

Who we'd like to see in the lead role: Ezra Miller


NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 01:  NETHERLANDS  Photo of Liam GALLAGHER and Noel GALLAGHER and OASIS, L-R:Tony McCarroll, Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs, Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher, Paul 'Guigsy' McGuigan - posed, group shot  (Photo by Michel Linssen/Redferns)
Oasis. Michel Linssen / Redferns

No one encapsulates the Britpop era quite like this band, helmed by brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher. Formed in Manchester in 1991, the five-piece were darlings of the industry from the get-go, with their debut album Definitely Maybe spawning hits such as Rock 'n' Roll Star and Supersonic.

And there was no difficult second album syndrome for the boys, with follow-up (What's the Story) Morning Glory? featuring Wonderwall, Don't Look Back in Anger, and Champagne Supernova.

However, their success was blighted by the Gallaghers’ ongoing feuding, regularly changing line-ups and wild lifestyles, which would make for quite the gripping plotline.

Who we'd like to see in the lead roles: Nicholas Hoult and Tom Hughes.


Prince. Chris Pizzello / Reuters
Prince. Chris Pizzello / Reuters

The diminutive songwriter and actor was known for his electric stage presence, ostentatious style and impressive vocal range, all of which would translate impeccably to the silver screen.

The star, who wrote his first song at the tender age of seven according to pop legend, dabbled with bands and solo work in his wide-reaching career, producing chart-topping tracks such as Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret and Kiss.

Also noted for his sometimes-controversial material and widespread philanthropy, Prince died of an accidental overdose in 2016.

Who we'd like to see in the lead role: For the vocals, Bruno Mars; for the acting, Michael B Jordan.

Stevie Nicks

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07:  Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac performs on stage in concert at Acer Arena on December 7, 2009 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Gaye Gerard/Getty Images)
Stevie Nicks. Getty

One of the industry’s most talented singers and songwriters, Nicks enjoyed acclaim as part of band Fritz in the 1960s, before undergoing stints as a waitress and cleaner after the group broke up in the early 1970s.

When she and partner Lindsey Buckingham joined Mick Fleetwood and his namesake band in 1974, Nicks brought her penmanship abilities – having already written songs including Rhiannon and Landslide – to the fold. After splitting with Buckingham, Nicks embarked on an affair with Fleetwood, around the time their Rumours album was in the charts, and later explored a solo career.

The singer also struggled with drug abuse for many years, in a life story that brings together indulgence, excess, passion and pain.

Who we'd like to see in the lead role: Saoirse Ronan

Elvis Presley

MALIBU, CA - AUGUST 1956: Rock and roll singer Elvis Presley during the filming of "Love Me Tender" in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Elvis Presley. Getty

As one of the music industry’s most enduring legends, many are familiar with the highs and lows of the King’s life, and while his story is about to be immortalised in a modern cinematic biopic directed by Baz Luhrmann, with Tom Hanks to Play Elvis Presley’s manager, the lead is yet to be cast – we’d love it to be our pick.

The rock and roll pin-up, who also completed military service and starred in Hollywood films, was a definitive pop culture figure of the 20th century, and created hits such as Heartbreak Hotel, Suspicious Minds, Hound Dog and All Shook Up. Presley also experienced drug addiction, a fever pitch of fandom and was plagued by ill health in his later years, dying in 1977, aged 42.

Widely credited with heralding a cultural shift, bringing several musical genres into the mainstream, his storied history deserves it’s spot on the screen.

Who we'd like to see in the lead role: Miles Teller

Jimi Hendrix

UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 24:  Photo of Jimi HENDRIX; performing live onstage David Redfern Premium Collection  (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***  al20au-jimi-hendrix.jpg
Jimi Hendrix. Getty 

His mainstream career may have spanned just four years, but the electric guitarist and singer left behind a body of work that has inspired generations for more than four decades.

The American rocker, who was a self-taught musician after acquiring his first acoustic guitar aged 15, joined the army before breaking into the music industry, after being threatened with jail or military service by police. Rising to fame with his band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the star was behind tracks such as Purple Haze and Voodoo Chile, and headlined 1969's legendary Woodstock festival.

Hendrix, who battled substance abuse, died of accidental asphyxia in 1970, joining the infamous "27 club", of stars who passed away at the young age.

Who we'd like to see in the lead role: Donald Glover