B.B. King Estate Clears Up Wendell Pierce Confusion With Official Biopic Announcement

by Duke Magazine

According to Variety, Vassal Benford, chairman of King’s estate has confirmed an official biopic of iconic blues musician B.B. King is going into pre-production in 2021. This is a separate project from “The Thrill Is On,” which is a drama about King’s friendship with drummer Michael Zanetis starring Wendell Pierce as King.

Pierce expanded on the situation on October 22, writing: “The Estate of B.B. King has requested I clarify the film ‘The Thrill Is On’ is not a biopic in the traditional sense. It is a dramatized version of a real-life friendship story in the spirit of the film ‘Round Midnight.’”

B.B. King’s estate has clarified that there are two separate projects in the works concerning King, “The Thrill Is On,” which is not associated with the estate, and an upcoming biopic of King’s life, which is being produced by the estate.

In a statement previously released by representatives for “The Thrill Is On,” the project is described to be a “friendship film.” The movie tells “the inspiring true story of how a chance meeting between Zanetis, a young musician, and B.B. King in 1980 led to King being the first blues artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990,” according to the statement.

However, both Pierce and Zanetis have said that King gave them his blessing to make the film before his death in 2015.

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