Wendell Pierce To Star In New B.B. King Biopic

Wendell Pierce

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 01: Wendell Pierce as Willy Loman in the Young Vic production of Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman directed by Marianne Elliot and Miranda Cromwell at The Piccadilly Theatre on November 1, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images)

Wendell Pierce To Star In New B.B. King Biopic

Wendell Pierce

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 01: Wendell Pierce as Willy Loman in the Young Vic production of Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman directed by Marianne Elliot and Miranda Cromwell at The Piccadilly Theatre on November 1, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images)

Wendell Pierce’s gig as William “Bunk” Moreland on The Wire now has competition as the actor’s most iconic role. Pierce, also known for his work on Jack Ryan, Treme, and Suits among other shows, has been cast as B.B. King in a new biopic about the famous bluesman, Collider reports. Titled The Thrill Is On, a reference to King’s signature song “The Thrill Is Gone,” the movie reportedly focuses on the friendship between King and young musician Michael Zanetis, who serves as a writer and producer on the film. Little else is known about The Thrill Is On so far, but Melora Donoghue, who worked as a producer on Billie Eilish’s “When The Party’s Over” video, cowrote the script with Zanetis.

Pierce announced the casting in a series of tweets Tuesday. “We are official,” he wrote. “Preparation has begun on a film where I will be honored to play the great, BB King. Humbled.” He added, “I promised BB King before he died, I will honor him and his creative genius. An American Icon.” He referred to the role as “the thrill of a lifetime.”

King was the most popular and influential blues guitarist of all time. He died in 2015 at the age of 89 after a battle with Type 2 diabetes. His daughter Patty King said he was the victim of elder abuse before his death and later suggested he was murdered, but those claims have never been substantiated.

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