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It was revealed this week that Michelle Williams is in talks to play singer Janis Joplin in a biopic entitled Janis, to be directed by Martha Marcy May Marlene helmer Sean Durkin — but the Oscar nominee is far from the first actress to be attached to a project involving Joplin.

Since the late ’90s, actresses and singers from the late Brittany Murphy to New Girl star Zooey Deschanel and beyond have been tapped to play the famed vocalist, who died of an overdose in 1970 at the age of 27. Below we’ve listed all the women who have been slated to play Joplin at some point.

Amy Adams

It was reported in 2010 that Adams was attached to play Joplin in the film Get It While You Can. A cycle of directors have been in in and out of the project, including Fernando Meirelles (City of God) in 2010 and Lee Daniels (The Butler) in 2012. Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers’ Club, Wild) was most recently signed on to direct, but the project came to a halt in March 2015 when it became mired in legal trouble.

Courtney Love

Love reportedly was attached at one point to a Joplin biopic Piece of My Heart. In 2013, the singer told Huffington Post, “I was offered to play Janis Joplin. I’m prettier than Janis Joplin so it’s always like that. Whatever.”

Nina Arianda

The Tony-winning actress was originally set to star as the singer in Durkin’s Joplin in December 2012. Production reportedly was to have begun in early 2013, with Ariana said to be singing Joplin’s music in the film.

Reese Witherspoon

There was talk around 2007 that Witherspoon might team up with Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke to bring Joplin’s story to the screen, but things never got very far.

Zooey Deschanel

The New Girl star signed on to star as Joplin in The Gospel According to Janis in 2006. Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World) was set to direct the film when it was put on hold in 2007.


Before Deschanel entered the picture, the pop singer was attached to star in The Gospel According to Janis with Spheeris in 2004. Gospel was one of two Janis Joplin pictures in a race to get into production at the time, but neither ended up making it to the silver screen. Pink reportedly dropped out after hearing Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Scarlett Johansson were also considered.

Renee Zellweger

Zellweger wanted to star and produce Piece of My Heart with Lakeshore Entertainment in 2003. The project never got much further off the ground despite being in competition with Spheeris’ The Gospel According to Janis.

Laura Theodore

Theodore already played Janis Joplin in an Off-Broadway play called Love, Janis. The play was based off of the singer’s letters and written by her sister Laura Joplin.In 1999, Theodore was to play Joplin again in the play’s film adaptation.

Lili Taylor

Taylor was going to star in Janis in 1999, but nothing ultimately came of the project.

Brittany Murphy

The late actress was also attached to portray Joplin back in 1999. Gary Fleder (Runway Jury) was to direct Piece of My Heart, which stalled due to issues with the music rights.

Melissa Etheridge

The singer was to play Joplin in Gary Fleder’s Piece of My Heart in 1996. Etheridge was no longer attached to the film in 1998 before Murphy’s involvement began the following year.