Kentucky Native, Oscar Nominee to Play George Jones in New Miniseries
I've noticed a relative proliferation of biopics over the last few years. I don't know if it's because, all of a sudden, restrictions (whatever they may have been) were lifted. Who knows? But over the last few years, we've seen big-screen treatments of the lives of Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Tammy Faye Bakker, James Brown, Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee, and Moms Mabley (well, that was a play adaptation, so that may not count in this context).
A PROLIFERATION OF BIG-SCREEN BIOPICS
There have been others that currently escape me. And, of course, there's the Whitney Houston movie arriving before the end of the year.
Filmed biographies or autobiographies are tricky...ESPECIALLY the former. You either end up with an exploitative mess or you have a wonderful re-creation of the person's life. Coal Miner's Daughter is, in my opinion, the best film in the genre. But that had a lot to do with Loretta Lynn always being on hand as a consultant. And of course, there's the flawless Oscar-winning performance by Sissy Spacek.
Well, it looks like country music will once again be in the spotlight, but this time on the small screen.
MAKE ROOM FOR GEORGE JONES AND TAMMY WYNETTE
THE SCOOP ON 'GEORGE & TAMMY'
Based on the book The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George by Georgette Jones, George and Tammy's only child together, the miniseries George & Tammy is set to premiere on Spectrum Originals in late 2022 and then become available on Paramount's streaming services.
Jessica Chastain--Oscar winner for 2021's The Eyes of Tammy Faye--will portray Tammy Wynette while two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon--for 2008's Revolutionary Road and 2016's Nocturnal Animals--will take on the role of George Jones. Shannon, by the way, is a native of Lexington. And that's not the series' only Kentucky connection; longtime Georgetown resident and Emmy nominee Steve Zahn will play Tammy's fifth husband, Nashville producer/songwriter George Richey.
MICHAEL SHANNON AND JESSICA CHASTAIN ON THEIR ICONIC COUNTERPARTS
Shannon and Chastain have been friends since working together in 2011's underrated Take Shelter and told Vanity Fair that neither of them was very familiar with the music of the icons they were set to portray. And it was QUITE a switch for Shannon; he's headed his own rock band, Corporal, for twenty years and claims jazz as his favorite genre of music. But when he immersed himself in Jones' music, he became an instant fan. As he told Vanity Fair:
George Jones is, to my ear, one of the finest singers I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s obviously a fool’s errand to try to completely emulate that—that’s one of the reasons he’s legendary, is that there will never be another one like him.
Regarding the results of her OWN homework, here's what Chastain said about her legendary on-screen alter-ego:
I was really moved by the love story between them—I started to listen to the music and understood that they were always singing to each other. They were both a huge part of each other’s lives.
If you ask me, this has "Emmy nominations" written all over it, and I'd guess George & Tammy--sight unseen--will AT LEAST garner lead acting nods for its two stars in 2023. But when will we get to see it? Good question.
As of right now, all we know is 2022; no airdate has been announced.