SXSW: Imogen Poots talks playing second fiddle in ‘Jimi: All is by the Side’

Imogen Poots plays the woman who helped shape Jimi Hendrix for fame in "Jimi: All is By My Side." Credit: Getty Images
Imogen Poots plays the woman who helped shape Jimi Hendrix for fame in “Jimi: All is By My Side.”
Credit: Getty Images

British actress Imogen Poots made a quick stop in Austin, Texas to unveil “Jimi: All is by My Side,” writer-director John Ridley’s look at the early days of Jimi Hendrix (Andre Benjamin), at SXSW. In the film, Poots stars as Linda Keith, girlfriend to Keith Richards and the woman who cajoles Hendrix out of obscurity and helps shape his style and persona.

First of all, we have to talk about Andre Benjamin’s performance as Hendrix.

He’s electrifying. The first time I met him I was so entranced by him. And I think, if anything, he had to quiet himself for Jimi. There’s a real intelligence and perceptiveness to somebody just observing and being quiet, and I think that’s something he wanted Jimi to have. And also an innate melancholy. I think that comes true.

Linda Keith is not as well known, so was it less of a worry for you about having to match her?

Our director spoke to her, and she was very cool. She was sort of like, “Go do your thing, I give you my blessing but I don’t want any part of it.” In that way, it was certainly a relief, because if you meet the person face-to-face it’s a whole new pressure. But I really, really love Linda. You can see how important it was to her but also how cool she was in a way. I wouldn’t want Linda Keith to turn around and be like, “What have you done? My hair wasn’t cut that way!”

It’s fascinating to see her role in shaping who Hendrix eventually came to be.

And I think it’s really, really authentic, actually, in terms of John’s storytelling. She very much was a catalyst for him. She was really instrumental in his career in London, and a lot of people maybe don’t know that.

You’d think Hendrix would have been a bit more appreciative.

I think what she knows is the idea that you can sort of nurture an artist and support them, but they don’t belong to you. The audience and the listeners believe that a part of him belongs to them. You can’t put ownership on a figure. It’s sort of the same thing as making a film about Hendrix. People who love him will feel an inevitable ownership, like they want to see the Hendrix they want to see. But my favorite thing about the role, really, was the idea that you do all this and then you can step back and maybe just listen to the records. And then you just live your life.

And given the emphasis put on music, SXSW seems like a fantastic environment to showcase a film like this.

It’s great, it’s such a fun environment. I’m just happy to be heading south whenever I’m in America, always. In search of cowboys. They’re somewhere. [Laughs]

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter @nedrick


Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…


Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…


3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."


Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…


Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.


TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…


Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…


Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…


NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb


Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.


3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…


Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…


Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…


Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…


Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.