Zooey Deschanel Is Janis Joplin

In Penelope Spheeris' movie

The race of the Janis Joplin pics just got more interesting. Now out in front is Penelope “Wayne’s World” Spheeris, who has been trying for a while to put together her version of the singer’s story, The Gospel According To Janis, while competing with Lakeshore Entertainment - itself busily cooking up a Renee Zellweger-starring rival.

The most recent report had singer Pink playing the lead role, but but now Spheeris has officially found her Janis in Zooey Deschanel, who last put her pipes to good use singing in the shower for Elf. She’s spent four months working with a vocal coach to prepare to sing with Joplin’s gritty style. “The dilemma over the years was finding an actress who could sing or a singer who could act,” producer Peter Newman explained to Variety. "Zooey is the first person we found who excels at both.”

And the script has been through several drafts, with the latest penned by Spheeris and David Dalton, a former Rolling Stone journo who accompanied Joplin on a long tour. His story will form the structure of the film, and the producers are now searching for an actor to play him.

Spheeris cranks her cameras this November in Philadelphia, but don’t write off the Lakeshore/Zellweger version just yet – despite having been booted into turnaround by Paramount, the film is being touted to other studios and the script is being rewritten again. It ain’t over until the depressed lady sings, folks.