Wendell Pierce To Play B.B. King In Upcoming Film
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Wendell Pierce To Play B.B. King In Upcoming Film

UPDATE (10/27/20): The estate of B.B. King and Wendell Pierce are both is setting the record straight regarding Pierce’s announcement of him playing the legendary blues singer. According to Variety, the chairman of the estate, Vassal Benford, said that an official biopic about the singer will go into pre-production in 2021. The estate considered Pierce for the role, but they are also considering other actors, including Kenan Thompson. The estate is also looking for a director. This is different than the project Pierce has actually signed on for. He will portray King in The Thrill Is On, which isn’t a biopic, but a film about the friendship between King and drummer Michael Zanetis.

Previously reported (10/20/20): Wendell Pierce is no stranger to portraying real-life people on-screen. The Wire actor portrayed civil rights leader Hosea Williams in Ava DuVernay’s acclaimed 2014 film Selma and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the 2016 HBO movie Confirmation.

In a tweet posted to his official Twitter account, Pierce announced he was set to portray blues legend B.B. King in an upcoming biopic. “We are official. Preparation has begun on a film where I will be honored to play the great, BB King. Humbled.”

The biopic, titled The Thrill Is On, will be centered on B.B. King’s friendship with musician Michael Zanetis. The script will be will be written by Zanetis and Melora Donoghue.

In a second post, Pierce said that he told King he would honor him and his creative genius before his passing in 2015. King died in his sleep in 2015 at the age of 89 from vascular dementia. The recipient of 15 Grammy awards, King was hailed as one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, declared by many “The King of the Blues.”


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