Outkast’s Andre 3000 got the chance of a lifetime – to play one of his idols, Jimi Hendrix, in an upcoming biopic. The first promotional images for All By My Side have been released, and the film is about to have its US premiere at South by Southwest next week.

Andre Benjamin, All Is By My Side Film Set
Benjamin in character on the set of the film.

In it, Andre 3000 (real name Andre Benjamin) portrays one crucial story from Hendrix’ life – his friendship with one Linda Keith, an ex-girlfriend of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who inspired a lot of Hendrix’s original work. The film itself originated from an instrumental by Hendrix, called Sending My Love to Linda. When screenwriter/director John Ridley (who just won Best Adapted Screenplay at Sunday night’s Oscars) stumbled upon the song, he got the idea to work the story into a full screenplay. From then on, the journey from page to screen took roughly seven years.

Andre 3000, Kevan Hall Fashion Show
Benjamin had to go through a period of intense physical and mental preparation to play Hendrix.

The role of Linda is played by Imogen Poots of current Need for Speed fame, while the screen-savvy Benjamin adds Hendrix to his already impressive roster of characters. Benjamin was building an impressive resume as an actor starring in hit movies like Semi Pro, Four Brothers, Be Cool, and the musical Idlewild, which also starred his partner from Outkast, Antwan “Big Boi” Patton. His last big production was back in 2008, giving him ample time to prepare for the role of Hendrix.

And prepare he did. Benjamin described the process he went through to immerse himself in Hendrix’s persona. "I listened to hours of interviews," Benjamin noted in the film's production notes, "I watched films – watched his mannerisms." He also had to lose weight and study dialect. As for the chill attitude, however, Benjamin had them down from the start.

Imogen Poots
Imogen Poots plays Linda Keith.