Andre 3000 is Jimi Hendrix in First Clip From ‘All Is By My Side’

Published 8 months ago by , Updated March 7th, 2014 at 8:28 pm,

Screenwriter John Ridley is fresh off an Oscar win for 12 Years A Slave, and has courted a bit of controversy surrounding some reported friction between him and the Best Picture winner’s director, Steve McQueen. His upcoming film, a biopic of ground-breaking rock legend Jimi Hendrix called All Is By My Side, has its share of controversy as well.

Ridley wrote and directed the film, which stars André Benjamin – better known as André 3000, one half of the great hip-hop duo OutKast – as Hendrix, and tracks the guitarist’s early years, right up to the edge of international fame with his band the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Don’t expect any of the classic rocker’s landmark hits, however, as the late Hendrix’s family – which keeps a tight reign on classic songs such as “Purple Haze”, “Foxy Lady”, and “Hey Joe” –  denied Ridley the use of any original music.

We first heard about All Is By My Side over a year ago, and learned about the issue with the music rights shortly thereafter. News on the biopic went quiet for awhile before it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall. Now, Shadow and Act brings us our first look at André Benjamin as Hendrix, opposite Need for Speeds Imogen Poots. Watch the minute-long clip up above.

Andre Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix Andre 3000 is Jimi Hendrix in First Clip From All Is By My Side

As we see in the clip, André Benjamin has dug into his character. Hendrix was known to be shy and insecure, as evidenced in this conversation with Poots, who plays paramour Linda Keith, a former girlfriend of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and, as mentioned in the clip, the subject of the Stones’ classic “Ruby Tuesday” and Jimi’s “Red House”.

Initial reviews for All Is By My Side out of TIFF were not overwhelmingly positive, but Benjamin’s performance has been noted as the film’s high point. As for the use of the music, the late musician’s estate released the following statement back when the film’s development was first reported:

[Experience Hendrix LLC] has made it known many times in the past that no such film, were it to include original music or copyrights created by Jimi Hendrix, can be undertaken without its full participation.

Experience Hendrix CEO Janie Hendrix, sister of Jimi Hendrix, and the EH board have not ruled out a ‘biopic’ in the future though producing partners would, out of necessity, have to involve the company from the inception of any such film project if it is to include original Jimi Hendrix music or compositions.

Jimi Hendrix Andre 3000 is Jimi Hendrix in First Clip From All Is By My Side

The big question is just how successful this film could be without those classic songs. Hendrix forever altered the landscape of popular music, and blew open the realm of possibilities when it came to the electric guitar. His early years were spent as a solid session player and backup guitarist for acts like Little Richard and the Isley Brothers, so some of their classic tunes could show up alongside the promised covers of Muddy Waters, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Given John Ridley’s status as an Oscar winner and the strong turn by Benjamin, there’s a good chance that All Is By My Side can overcome some of lukewarm early reactions. The film has been acquired for U.S. distribution by Open Road and XLrator, and while there is no stateside release date, it will screen at this month’s SXSW Film Festival.

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All Is By My Side will likely premiere in U.S. theaters sometime in 2014.

Source: Shadow and Act

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  1. Wow, I don’t think there can be anyone who resembles Hendrix as much as Andre Benjamin does – it would have been the perfect film to allow Hendrix’ music. However, Benjamin may not have the right vocals anyways.

  2. Wow. In the clip above he is dead on. I have chills.

  3. Andre 3000 was made to play Jimi Hendrix in a movie. I have no doubt that he will be able to give an amazing visual and musical presence that is required.

    My only concern is the voice, in that clip it seems like hes goes back in forth between an accent and Andre 300 but I guess you can only do so much. Looking forward to this one

  4. hey joe is a cover song so i hope they were at least able to use that one

  5. I’ve waited over a decade to see Andre play Hendrix. I hope this gets a wide release.

  6. Andre Benjamin looks and sounds surprisingly good there, though the film will definitely suffer if it can’t even use sound-alike versions of Hendrix’s songs.

    According to Richards, he wrote “Ruby Tuesday” specifically after Linda Keith had already left him for Hendrix, but that’s still a decent enough line: “You can perform for a thousand people and you can’t be honest with one,” bearing in mind the divide between Hendrix’s onstage presence and his apparently way more subdued personality offstage.

  7. they denied the use of Foxy Lady for a movie about him, yet allowed Mike Myers to use it in Wayne’s World? wtf

  8. Andre’s a solid actor and gets Hendrix’s syntax and voice. Judging by the clip, I hope this ambitious film isn’t only settling in on Hendrix’s chicks- that would be a snoozer and only 1/10 of his story.

  9. That’s amazing stuff from Andre 3000, he captures the coolness and shyness perfectly all in one, just like Hendrix was. I’m bummed his classic riffage isn’t in there all because of the sister, she’s notorious for riding his coattails and locking down everything like a little self-proclaimed Empress, much like Courtney Love did with Nirvana for a while. Luckily, there are 2 primary members in that band, Dave and Krist, who overcame all that. Jimi’s music should be HEARD in this film!

  10. Andre nails the coolness mixed with shyness that Jimi always had, NAILS it.

  11. If they had to include the company to use the songs, why didn’t they? Imo it’s pointless to make a ‘good’ movie about Jimi Hendrix without any of his classic songs. I don’t want to have to see another Jimi movie in a few years that includes the songs and is a hit, when that could’ve just been this. It’s like if the bio-pic Ray had been made without his classic songs.

    • I agree, it hobbles the movie.

  12. God , when will his parastic fake half sister not even related to jimi..hopefully die already.

  13. He doesn’t look much like Hendrix. His impression is ok, but sounded forced and unnatural when he said “Could you tell?” as though it didn’t have a question mark; reminded me of an American forcing an English accent. In close-ups, he looks much more like a young Lawrence Fishburne than Hendrix. So far it’s no more interesting than any other of Andre’s vanity projects, but we’ll see how the rest of it turns out.

    • Do it better.

  14. It should be noted that Hendrix didn’t write “Hey Joe,” so I fail to see how his family could prevent its use.