Staggering news. Taylor Swift, singer, guitarist, perhaps soon-to-be-Kennedy bride — and as John Mayer knows not a woman to be scorned lightly — has just signed on to play singer-songwriter legend and Canada’s unofficial queen, Joni Mitchell.
According to Variety, Swift recently inked the deal to play Mitchell after months of speculation about the much anticipated adaptation of Sheila Weller’s book “Girls Like Us.”
The film will chronicle the lives of a select coterie of American female torch singers, and how they shaped American popular culture and music. And it’s not just Mitchell who’ll be getting the version 2.0 upgrade, Carly Simon and Carole King will also get the big screen treatment.
Alison Pill (Midnight in Paris, The Newsroom) has been mooted for the role of King as well as Dredd 3D’s Olivia Thirlby, while Mad Men’s Jessica Pare is testing for Simon. But as yet, there is no definitive word on who will be co-star alongside Swift.
Although not yet greenlit, behind-camera roles have been filled. Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers) will produce for Sony Pictures while Katie Jacobs (former executive producer on House) will direct based on a script written by John Sayles (Honeydripper, The Spiderwick Chronicles.)
Currently featured on The Hunger Games soundtrack, Swift has just released new single “Begin Again” from her latest albumRed. The 22-year-old made her acting debut in the 2009 Miley Cyrus vehicle Hannah Montana: The Movie. From there she landed a small role in Valentine’s Day with Twilight’s Taylor Lautner, more recently voicing a role in Universal’s The Lorax.
For those who feel a certain trepidation about Swift tackling the role of Mitchell — the firebrand singer that brought the world achingly beautiful songs like Court and Spark, Blue, Free Man In Paris, Big Yellow Taxi, Help Me and Coyote and a fiercely, intelligent brilliance to music — is there cause?
There are certain icons in American culture that one must tread carefully with. Most will know some of them them well: Jeff Buckley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Jack Kerouac, John Wayne, The Band, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Willie Nelson, Lucille Ball, Bart Simpson et al – and yes, Joni Mitchell. There are heaps more but you get the point.
It’s not that people can’t or shouldn’t revisit these icons’ lives, it’s that they absolutely have to do it well. And in the case of a peerless artist like Mitchell, make that supremely well.
Swift has some seriously big shoes to fill.