CHICAGO star Renee Zellweger is taking her musical passion to new heights by playing rock icon Janis Joplin.

The svelte Texan, who wowed fans with her vocal skills in the OSCAR-winning movie, will also produce the big screen biopic on the GET IT WHILE YOU CAN singer, who died of a drug overdose in 1970 aged just 27.

Tom Rosenberg, who will serve as one of Zellweger's production partners, says, "Renee has been obsessed with Janis for years and is totally committed to this. We are looking to quickly bring aboard a writer-director so that this can be the picture she makes after the sequel to Bridget Jones's Diary."

Film company LAKESHORE, which will make the movie in collaboration with Paramount Pictures, has been developing the project for seven years, eyeing Brittany Murphy and Melissa Etheridge to play Joplin.

But Zellweger became the unanimous choice, with her other production partner Gary Lucchesi explaining, "Aside from Renee's talent, it's a plus that she's from Texas like Janis was because she can appreciate the courage it took to leave there and to so San Francisco and make a career rather than stay behind to conform to the life her parents were hoping for."

20/06/2003 19:35