TV, movie and stage star Wendell Pierce has Tweeted that he’ll play blues legend B. B. King in a new biopic. More details are on their way. But Wendell, who wowed theatre audiences in London’s West End, in “Death of a Salesman,” and has plenty of accolades here, will be ripe for an Oscar nod with this one. The title is “The Thrill is On.” Screenplay is by Melora Donoghue and Michael Zanetis based on the friendship of Zanetis with BB King. Wendell wrote on Twitter: “I promised BB King before he died, I will honor him and his creative genius. An American Icon.”
UPDATE: As far back as 2012, BB King– then alive– sued and tried to stop this project. At the time, Patrick Fugit of “Almost Famous” was going to play Zanetis and Frank Capra III was producing.
The story was,a ccording to the Hollywood Reporter, that Zanetis moved from the Indiana farmlands to the California beaches in 1977 to pursue his dream of working in the music business. B.B. King’s son, Willie, is said to have arranged a chance meeting between Zanetis and his father, which sparked a three decades long relationship. King helped his young follower cope with his father’s death, performed at the opening of the Michael’s Supper Club (a California venue founded by Zanetis), and inspired his career in the music industry. In turn, Zanetis purportedly made a promise to King to help the musician get a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, which happened in 1990.
it’s unclear how the lawsuit worked out, or if all parties have reached an agreement. Stay tuned…
We are official. Preparation has begun on a film where I will be honored to play the great, BB King. Humbled. pic.twitter.com/Y9JJvA3WW2
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) October 19, 2020