Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Great Actor Wendell Pierce Says He’s Prepping a Movie in Which He’ll Play Blues Legend B. B. King


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…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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