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Janis Joplin biopic: Michelle Williams in talks to play singer

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Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images; GAB Archive/Redferns

Following her Oscar-nominated turn as Marilyn Monroe in Simon Curtis’ My Week with Marilyn, Michelle Williams could soon be headed back to the big screen to play another iconic entertainment figure.

EW has learned the 36-year-old actress is in talks to star as Janis Joplin in the upcoming biopic Janis, set to be directed by Martha Marcy May Marelene helmer Sean Durkin. The film will revolve around the last six months of the rocker’s life, shortly before her death in 1970 at age 27. 

Variety, which first broke the news, reports Peter Newman (The Squid and the Whale) will produce alongside Durkin’s partners Borderline Films, in addition to Uncommon Productions, Internal, and Seven Hills Productions. 

Joplin rose to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, which she fronted until 1968. She later released two solo albums: I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! in 1969, and the posthumous Pearl in 1971.

Williams is expected to be a player in the upcoming Oscar race for her supporting performance in Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea, which traveled the festival circuit from Telluride and Toronto to New York after debuting earlier this year at Sundance, where it was acquired by Amazon Studios for around $10 million. She is also set to appear in the long-gestating Hugh Jackman musical The Greatest Showmanwhich follows P.T. Barnum and his traveling circus.

Durkin has not made a feature film since 2011’s Martha Marcy May Marlene, which was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, though he did direct four episodes of the U.K. drama Southcliffe in 2013.

A critically-acclaimed documentary about Joplin’s life, Janis: Little Girl Blue, was released in 2015 by director Amy J. Berg. Last year, the film was among 124 feature-length, nonfiction works to be included on the Academy’s list of Best Documentary qualifiers.

Further details regarding Janis, including release and production dates, have yet to be announced.