The life and legacy of Merle Haggard will soon be immortalized on the silver screen. According to Deadline, Amazon Studios is making a biopic on the country legend. The movie will be based on Haggard’s memoir Sing Me Back Home.
Haggard became known for his classics like “Mama Tried” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me.” The singer passed away in 2016 from complications caused by pneumonia.
Robin Bissell will direct and write the film. He’s working closely with Haggard’s widow Theresa Haggard on the script. The film will chronicle Haggard’s rise to early fame and then national acclaim. Actor Sam Rockwell is in talks to play Haggard and will also perform many of Haggard’s classics himself.
The film will reportedly be set in the 1960s before Haggard became the country music star fans all love and remember today. Back then, Haggard served time in prison in the notorious San Quentin. He was among several prisoners who saw Johnny Cash play. That moment inspired Haggard to pursue a music career of his own.
Merle Haggard Went From Criminal to Country Singer
When Haggard was nine, his father died of a stroke, and his mother had to go to work to support the family. As a youth, he engaged in criminal activity. He would steal cars and commit petty theft. Police arrested Haggard several times as a youth, but he always managed to escape the juvenile facilities. In fact, he made 17 escape attempts.
As an adult, Haggard’s crime spree finally caught up to him when he was sent to San Quentin. Reportedly, the film will explore Haggard trying to shake his ex-con status as he pursues country music. In fact, Haggard was ashamed of the crimes he committed as a young man and hid it from his friends and associates.
It wasn’t until he appeared on Johnny Cash’s TV show in 1969 that he admitted his sordid past. The movie will also cover his blossoming romance with his future wife Bonnie Owens.