Previous attempts to tell the story of Joplin's life have generally failed. "The Rose," loosely based on the Joplin story, earned four Oscar nominations, including a best actress nomination for Bette Midler.
Director Penelope Spheeris told Zap2it.com her choice of Deschanel for "Gospel According to Janis," helps complete a complicated formula for a successful film biography.
"It's a combination of getting the right script, getting the right actor, getting the rights cleared for her life, getting the music rights cleared. It's a complex formula," said the 60-year-old director.
The "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" actress was not Spheeris' first choice to embody the singer for her film. Spheeris originally wanted singer Alecia "Pink" Moore to fill Joplin's shoes for her.
The Web site said that despite delays, the new film is scheduled to begin shooting in Philadelphia in November.