André 3000 has compared playing the guitar left handed like ‘walking backwards’.
The Outkast frontman, real name André Lauren Benjamin, will soon be seen on the big screen playing the iconic musician Jimi Hendrix in Jimi: All Is by My Side. While the 39-year-old is an accomplished artist himself, he plays guitar with his right hand, so found switching to his left to embody Jimi extremely difficult.
‘It was very hard. It’s almost the same as walking backwards,’ he told British magazine Shortlist. ‘The crazy part was when we first approached the film we thought that, production-wise, we were going to be able to shoot it right handed, so I could have the confidence and full movement of knowing how to do it in the way I know. We were going to try to flip the image.’
However, it soon became apparent that they would have to change everything in the scene, which would be expensive. It left André unsure if he could do the legendary performer justice at all.
‘I was kind of bummed about it. I didn’t know if I could pull it off,’ he recalled. ‘At one point during the meeting, I was not going to do it. I was going to say, ‘The movie’s not gonna work, because I don’t want to f**k Hendrix up and make him look terrible.’ I hadn’t practised the left-hand thing once.’
Thankfully, André realised it was too good a part to give up and rehearsed every day to master playing left-handed. The Hey Ya! singer was thrilled with the end result.
‘It’s just a different type of movie. I think there will be a lot of Hendrix movies made,’ he said. ‘We’ll see Hendrix with all the hits, the whole story. But we wanted to make a more human, more character-based film, rather than just trying to recreate existing footage.’
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