Long-Delayed B.B. King Biopic Officially on The Way

zo Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers…
Long-Delayed B.B. King Biopic Officially on The Way
(Photo by David Redferns/Redferns via Getty Images)

A biopic treatment of the blues legend’s life is finally getting off the ground.

After nearly a decade of delays (and a title change spurred by a brief legal battle,) a B.B. King biopic is officially in development.

The update arrived via Collider on Monday, announcing Wendell Pierce was still on-board to portray the charismatic bluesman in The Thrill is On, a riff on the title of one of King’s biggest hits. When Pierce originally signed on in 2011, the film was titled, B.B. King and I, which was quickly struck down by King’s estate, filing suit against the film’s writer, Michael Zanetis, for violating King’s trademark on his name.

As the original title suggests, Zanetis’ treatment tells the story of his relationship with King and how he came to meet the legendary blues musician upon transplanting from Indiana to California. Zanetis, a jazz-fusion drummer who cut and self-pressed an album, Better Late Than Never, in 1977, was reportedly introduced to King via the guitarist’s son, Willie, after attending one of the legend’s shows in 1980. Their relationship spanned the rest of King’s life and culminated in the dedication of a star to the late blues icon on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990, which Zanetis claims to have brokered.

Though it’s unclear how the film’s story has been adjusted in the wake of the 2011 suit, Pierce, its star, is feeling pretty good about his upcoming role. “I promised B.B. King before he died, I will honor him and his creative genius,” Pierce wrote on Twitter, sharing photos of himself, King, and Zanetis (see below.)


Want More?

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Follow Us