British director Jon Brewer is working on a full-length movie about the life of B.B. King. The blues legend, born Riley King, has sanctioned the project and given extensive input. "B.B. King: The Life Of Riley" is due in theaters May 2012.
"B.B. is still giving everything to it, and he has a big history", Brewer tells Guitarist magazine. "It was an absolute privilege to be asked to make this film – it’s B.B. King’s life!"
Talking of B.B.'s life so far, Brewer says: "One aspect tops all others. There’s this little boy who loved going to school, didn’t so much love going to church, but so respected his mother and did what his mother told him. And suddenly she was fading; he saw his mother die, that then led to how he relied upon his grandmother and worked the land, who was also fading in years so they could eat. And then she died – as a nine or 10 year old, his life had been crushed.
"He managed to become a sharecropper, which is somebody who earns $2.50 a month to pay for his rent and his food. I have seen the ledgers that still exist where he cleared his debt and his grandmother’s debt, before his father came to collect him. That man survived and became The King of the Blues. To do what he has done is remarkable."
In the December issue of Guitarist, B.B. himself also reminisces about his early days, his "Lucille" Gibson guitars (named after a nightclub fight over a woman), his work with U2 and much more. The magazine is available in Europe now: it hits U.S. stores near Christmas.
Thanks for the report to Michael Leonard, Gibson.com.