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Zooey Deschanel rocks it up with raspy tracks of Janis Joplin

by Michael Klein, Inquirer Columnist

Actress Zooey Deschanel is holed up in an L.A. studio, rehearsing and laying down tracks for The Gospel According to Janis.

The biopic on '60s blues-rocker Janis Joplin will start shooting in various clubs here "later this year," says Peter Newman, producer of the Penelope Spheeris-directed independent film. Spheeris (Little Rascals, Wayne's World) and David Dalton wrote it.

Shooting was to start next month, but there's been a short, unspecified delay.

The 26-year-old Deschanel - a year younger than Joplin when she died of an overdose in 1970 - "tore the walls down" with her version of "Mercedes-Benz," says Newman.

Deschanel (Elf, Almost Famous) is no stranger to microphones. She has a nightclub act in which she sings mostly jazz and blues from the 1940s and '50s.

Journalist Dalton based the script on his travels with Joplin. The part of the writer has not been cast.

Newman says Philly got the nod because of state incentives extended to filmmakers. "The tax incentive is well-structured, very clean and user-friendly to independent producers," Newman says. Philly has "all the attributes of a big city without being a city like New York and L.A. that has an overabundance of film projects going on. It's also easy to get people from New York to Philadelphia."


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