Cannes: 'Straight Outta Compton' Writer to Pen George Jones Biopic (Exclusive)
Alan Wenkus will write and produce the film, which chronicles the Country Music Hall of Famer's career and turbulent life.
Straight Outta Compton writer Alan Wenkus will write an authorized George Jones biopic titled No Show Jones.
The film, which will be produced by L.A.-based production and finance company 28 Entertainment, follows the Country Music Hall of Famer's rise in the 1950s through the 1970s, chronicling his struggles with alcohol and substance abuse, his turbulent 7-year marriage to singer Tammy Wynette and his marriage to Nancy Jones, who he credited with saving him from his demons.
Wenkus, who worked closely with the George Jones Estate, is finalizing the script after doing extensive research, conducting dozens of interviews and collaborating with Jones' widow, Nancy Jones, who is executive producing the film. 28 Entertainment’s Brian A. Hoffman along with the original writer, Dennis Baxter, are producing the project alongside Wenkus. The producers -— who spent time with the country star in his later years (he died in 2013 at the age of 81) -— are introducing the project at the Cannes film market and are looking to attach talent shortly.
“We are very excited about moving into the next phase of bringing George’s remarkable life to the big screen," Hoffman said. "We are thrilled that so many talented people have shown a great deal of interest in this project."
Added Wenkus: “George Jones literally saved country music when rock and roll almost swallowed it up. He had such an entertaining life. It’s got it all. Love, loss, redemption and a lot of whiskey ... basically everything George was singing about.”
Wenkus did similarly exhaustive research while writing the long-gestating Straight Outta Compton, which will by released by Universal on Aug. 14.
Known as "No-Show Jones" and "The Possum," Jones was best-known for sorrowful ballads like "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "She Thinks I Still Care." But he also spawned such fun hits as "White Lightning” and "The Race Is On.”
The project's movement forward coincides with a new George Jones Museum, which opened in Nashville on April 23, bringing new attention to the country music star whose career spanned six decades.
Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2008 and received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2012.
28 Entertainment is currently developing Code Name: Johnny Walker, based on a New York Times best-seller about an Iraqi who fought with the U.S. Navy SEALS.