Filmmakers have been trying to bring Jimi Hendrix’s life to the big screen for decades, and with JIMI: All is By My Side, John Ridley has finally succeeded where directors Paul Greengrass and the Hughes brothers had been stymied in recent years. The Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave brought the iconic rock star, who died in 1970 at the age of 27, back to life with the help of André Benjamin. The movie didn’t have the support of the Hendrix estate so it makes do without his music, but critics nevertheless applauded when the biopic debuted at last fall’s Toronto Film Festival. The movie makes its U.S. debut on March 12 at SXSW.
ll Is By My Side tells the Hendrix’s in the year before he became a rock legend, when he was still a back-up guitarist named Jimmy James playing dingy New York clubs. A well-connected groupie named Linda Keith, however, sees in him something special. She brings him to 1966 London, where Jimmy transforms into Jimi. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll ensue. The film culminates with Hendrix being invited to the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, the historic all-star concert that made him an icon.
In an exclusive clip from the film, Jimi and Linda (Imogen Poots) have a heart-to-heart before he flies to California. They’re no longer together, but he wrote a song about her, he says. Linda, however, is the kind of gal that inspires lots of rock songs: Keith Richards penned “Ruby Tuesday” about her. In the clip below, you can sort of see why.