Martin Scorsese To Produce Grateful Dead Biopic On Band’s 50th Anniversary

As the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s formation approaches, word has gotten out that Martin Scorsese will produce a documentary about the band. Scorsese will executive produce the film that will come out in 2015 — 50 years after the band was formed.

Variety reports that the Grateful Dead documentary will be directed by Amir Bar-Lev, known for his work on documentary films including Fighter and The Tillman Story.

The Grateful Dead formed in 1965 and originally had 13 members, including Jerry Garcia, who died of a heart attack in 1995. For the 30 years that the band was together, they toured and performed all over the world. They originally formed in Palo Alto, California, and were known for the eclectic fusion of music of many different genres, including rock, blues, folk, and jazz, as well as their sometimes bizarre and always incredibly devoted fans, known as “Deadheads.” Many of those fans simply followed the band around from place to place throughout the years, going to all of their concerts.

The Grateful Dead was also often associated with the pervasive drug use that was so typical of the 1960s and 1970s.

Scorsese’s role as executive producer of the Grateful Dead documentary is bolstered by the long-running list of music documentaries he has worked on over the years. He assisted on Michael Wadleigh’s Woodstock as far back as 1970, and on the 1978 story of a legendary lineup of rock legends on one night called The Last Waltz. In 2011, he also worked on the story of one of the Beatles when he directed the biopic George Harrison: Living in the Material World.

Some of the Grateful Dead’s original band members — Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Phil Lesh — said in a statement that they are honored to have Scorsese on board, according to Time.

“From The ‘Last Waltz’ to ‘George Harrison: Living in the Material World,’ from Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones, he has made some of the greatest music documentaries ever with some of our favorite artists,” they said.

Scorsese, whose list of credits includes a long list of legendary films, also had something to say about his newest project. In a statement, Scorsese said he is honored to be part of making the film, and is happy that the story of the Grateful Dead is being made.

“The Grateful Dead were more than just a band,” he said in his statement. “They were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans.”

[PHOTO: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]