​Joni Mitchell Taylor Swift: Biopic For Mitchell Shelved After Swift Project

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November 27, 2021

Joni Mitchell and Taylor Swift have nothing in common, and plans for the pop star to star in a movie based on her life was prevented.

That’s because Mitchell didn’t want anything to do with it, according to the Examiner. The pop star was rumored to have signed on to play the veteran star in a biopic based on Sheila Weller’s book “Girls Like Us,” the story of three singer/songwriters that also include Carly Simon and Carole King. The project failed to materialize, and Mitchell has now revealed she rejected the plans.

“I squelched that! I said to the producer, ‘All you’ve got is a girl with high cheekbones. It’s just a lot of gossip, you don’t have the great scenes.’ There’s a lot of nonsense about me in books: assumptions, assumptions, assumptions.”

When asked about the Taylor Swift biopic rumors in an interview last Sunday, she announced that the plan was stopped before it began. Since then, the project has been put on hold, but people in the industry say it might not ever happen. The two singers do have some things in common, which could make this movie great.

The first hint that things weren’t confirmed with Joni Mitchell and Taylor Swift was when the pop star wouldn’t talk about it during an interview with Time magazine. Swift wanted the part, and even though an article in Variety said the project got the green light, the singer said otherwise. She refused to talk about it.

“That’s actually not confirmed … I wish I could say it’s confirmed! But the thing about movies that I’ve learned is — I’ve been reading scripts for five years, and you just don’t know what ones are going to get greenlit and which ones aren’t, so I can’t talk about it unless it’s the real thing.”

Taylor Swift is definitely interested in the biopic. But can she juggle music and be an actress at the same time? When asked whether she’d like to take on more acting roles, Taylor answered with enthusiasm.

“I would love to sign on to do a movie if it was the right role and if it was the right script, because I would be taking time away from music to tell a big grand story, and spend all of my time and pouring all of my emotions into being someone else. So for me to do that, it would have to be a story worth telling.”

The story of Joni Mitchell is worth telling, according to the Ultimate Classic Rock. Unlike Taylor Swift, Joni has a wide-range of vocals with distinctive open-tuned guitar and piano compositions. They grew more harmonically and rhythmically complex as she explored jazz, melding it with influences of rock and roll, R&B, classical music, and non-western beats. In the late 1970s, she began working closely with noted jazz musicians, among them Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, and Charles Mingus; the latter asked her to collaborate on his final recordings.

When Mitchell was 11 years old, her family settled in the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which she considers her hometown. She had always been inspired by the beauty of the Canadian Prairies, but she had developed into “a bad student” frustrated by the educational outlook in the provincial towns where she grew up, and school in Saskatoon did not inspire her either. Mitchell’s initially dedicated note-taking in class would be replaced by a mess of drawings in her notebooks by year’s end, and her report cards would say, “Joan does not relate well.” But Mitchell had her own reasons.

“The way I saw the educational system from an early age was that it taught you what to think, not how to think. There was no liberty, really, for free thinking. You were being trained to fit into a society where free thinking was a nuisance. I liked some of my teachers very much, but I had no interest in their subjects. So I would appease them-I think they perceived that I was not a dummy, although my report card didn’t look like it. I would line the math room with ink drawings and portraits of the mathematicians. I did a tree of life for my biology teacher. I was always staying late at the school, down on my knees painting something.”

Joni Mitchell and Taylor Swift have both turned to pop music, some country, and embraced electronic music. But Swift hasn’t engaged in political protest as Mitchell has. However, only one has been the sole record producer credited on most of her albums, including all her work in the 1970s.

The Newsroom actress Alison Pill was also in talks to play Carole King in Girls Like Us before Mitchell had the film blocked. John Sayles was hired as screenwriter with Kate Jacobs directing the movie. Girls Like Us would have been the first dramatic turn for Swift, who made her big screen debut in the 2010 ensemble romantic comedy Valentine’s Day. The 1989 singer finally tackled drama when she appeared in the 2012 adaptation of the young adult classic The Giver.

That can make a great biopic. Joni has designed her own album artwork throughout her career. A blunt critic of the music industry, she quit touring and released her 17th, and reportedly last, album of original songs in 2007. She describes herself as a “painter derailed by circumstance.”

Joni Mitchell has deeply influenced fellow musicians in a diverse range of genres, and her work is highly respected by critics. She is probably one of the greatest songwriters ever. Her lyrics are noted for their developed poetics, addressing social and environmental ideals alongside personal feelings of romantic longing, confusion, disillusion, and joy.

The veteran singer stated that she was working on her final album in 2002. She voiced discontent with the current state of the music industry, describing it as a “cesspool.” What does separate Joni Mitchell from Taylor Swift is her dislike of the record industry’s dominance and her desire to control her own destiny, possibly by releasing her own music over the Internet.

During the next few years, the only albums Joni Mitchell released were compilations of her earlier work. In 2003, Mitchell’s Geffen recordings were collected in a remastered, four-disc box set, “The Complete Geffen Recordings,” including notes by Mitchell and three previously unreleased tracks. A series of themed compilations of songs from earlier albums were also released: “The Beginning of Survival” (2004), “Dreamland” (2004), and “Songs of a Prairie Girl” (2005), the last of which collected the threads of her Canadian upbringing and which she released after accepting an invitation to the Saskatchewan Centennial concert in Saskatoon.

The concert, which featured a tribute to Joni Mitchell, was also attended by Elizabeth II. In Prairie Girl liner notes, she writes that the collection is “my contribution to Saskatchewan’s Centennial celebrations”.

It will be interesting if Joni Mitchell and Taylor Swift can work together on the biopic, notes Popcrush. Although Mitchell stated that she would no longer tour or give concerts, she has made occasional public appearances to speak on environmental issues. She currently divides her time between her longtime home in Los Angeles, and the 80-acre property in Sechelt, British Columbia.

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