Nov 192021

It’s just come to my attention that Martin Scorsese is directing a biopic about the Grateful Dead. In the spirit of the casting call that we had for Downtown Abbey a while back (, I propose we help Marty out by providing some casting suggestions. Jonah Hill has already signed on as Jerry. I’m leaning toward Seth Rogan as Pigpen. Let’s hear your ideas!


  15 Responses to “Help Marty Cast The Grateful Dead Biopic”

  1. BigSteve

    I think the only Jonah Hill movie I’ve seen is Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, and he was really good in that. But I am not on board with this. What are the chances this movie will be watchable, even with Scorcese directing? I’d prefer a documentary.

  2. BigSteve

    A lot would depend on what period the film is going to cover. I’d recommend Acid Tests through Altamont, but Jonah Hill is already 37, the age Garcia was in 1979, when they were already in artistic decline, not to mention post-Pigpen. A much younger Keanu Reeves might have worked for Weir, or even Lesh. Sam Shepard was a drummer, and in his prime he could have played Kreutzmann. Maybe Kyle MacLachlan’s rock biopic experience could get him the role of Bill Graham.

  3. Fascinating! Maybe even terrifying, but thank god Marty got the gig and not Oliver Stone. At least actors will grow real facial hair. Unless…

    Scorsese builds upon his The Irishman technology and casts Touch of Gray-eligible actors and then makes them creepily “younger.” In that case, I’m seeing…

    Matt Damon as Bobby
    Owen Wilson as Phil Lesh
    James Franco as Pigpen (he’ll be on Bobby’s Jake LaMotta diet)
    Dave Grohl as Mickey Hart
    Nick Offerman as Bill Kruetzman
    Tilda Swinton as Keith and Donna
    The Cookie Monster as Robert Hunter
    Robbie Robertson as Bill Graham

  4. BigSteve

    Jack Black as Pigpen maybe?

  5. Old joke that, as Jack White says, bears repeating: What did one Deadhead say to the other after they ran out of pot? This music sucks!

  6. SirLaurenceOblivious, I’ve been meaning to welcome you to the Halls of Rock! I believe you’re relatively new here. You are bringing it nicely!

  7. Mrs CDM suggests Mark Ruffalo as Bill Graham.

    She also suggested Timothy Chalamet for Bob Weir. I like to see Nicole Power from Kim’s Convenience for 60’s era Bobby.

    Jack Black is a great suggestion.

    And kudos to Mr Mod for the embarrassment of riches. Nick Offerman is inspired and the Tilda Swinton comment made me laugh out loud.

  8. Happiness Stan

    I think it fairly safe to say I’m unlikely to watch this. I once took something to keep me awake at an all night music film festival just before the Grateful Dead Live movie (in case I missed the films they were showing later) and spent the next hour and a half envying those snoozing around me. I should have packed an alarm clock, a mistake I wouldn’t have made a second time. The only but I remember is where a fan who has travelled thousands of miles to see them reads an awful poem, possibly to Garcia in the lobby of the theatre, although I might have made it up

    The question also leaves me realising how out of touch I am with modern cinema and tv. My interest changed in my early twenties and there is a huge cultural void where my knowledge of even the most famous film stars ought to be. Tilda Swinton is the only one mentioned so far who I might recognise in the street, though I don’t think I’ve watched any of her films.

    It doesn’t help that Garcia and Bill Graham are the only ones on the list I’d be able to pick out of a lineup.

    I think I’ll stick to Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s Slade in Residence sketches.

  9. Happiness,

    I remember the guy reading the poem in the lobby. No Garcia involvement.

  10. I’m not a Greatful Dead guy. I know what Jerry looks like, but I barely have an image of what any of the others look like. My only image of Bob Weir is that he wears really short cut-offs on stage, but I might not recognize him in long pants.

    I had no idea who Keith and Donna were so went to look for them. I found this:

    I know this is a site for opinions, but that is just objectively BAD, right? How did they end up in the Dead?

    I think this video, which might have aired on The Midnight Special, was an introduction to the Dead for me. The band is a bore to watch, but I was enthralled by the twirling hippy chicks and the elf at the foot of the stage doing an excellent dramatic lip sync to the song. I wish the camera was just fixed on the crowd.

  11. I even spelled Greatful wrong!

  12. Good catch on the lip syncing elf. Sometimes when my band in college was playing, one of our friends used to mimic him for our entertainment.

    Keith and Donna are a head scratcher. His playing is a great fit for the Dead although he never played organ as far as I can recall. I guess Donna came as part of a package deal but I don’t know a single Dead fan who has anything positive to say about her caterwauling. I had a friend suggest that Yoko play her in the movie.

    Inexplicably, she was a session singer at Muscle Shoals before she was in the Dead, and apparently sang on Suspicious Minds and When a Man Loves a Woman. I just imagine if I were a member of the band, most of my time in between songs would taken up with me saying things like, “Donna, are you sure you can hear yourself in the monitors?”

  13. Donna was not good and not popular with the fans. Keith was an excellent addition and is the keyboard that best supported the longer group improvisations.

    While I can’t really recommend the movie that Happiness referenced, it does have some cool aspects. The music is mixed in such a way that it bumps up the volume of the specific performer in the visual shot. There is also a long instrumental passage in the middle of the movie, probably 20 minutes or so, on “Eyes of the World,” one of those fast, jazzy numbers that they churned out in the late 70’s. It’s focused and exciting with the whole crew, especially Kreutzman, the sole drummer at that time, and Godchaux.

    I know it’s not a popular opinion here, and while I’ll concede plenty of the Dead criticisms here are totally founded, I do think they sometimes hit a spot that is there’s alone. This is one of them.

  14. Jesus, “theirs alone.” I ALWAYS type the wrong format between contraction and possessive.

  15. BigSteve

    That clip chickenfrank posted was horrifying. I was and am a fan of the Dead during that period, and I’d no idea they had ever let Keith sing. Now I know why. Donna was helpful for harmony singing, but her intonation could be questionable in live settings. That was true of everybody else in the band too though.

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