CNN Films and HBO Max have commissioned a new documentary about the life of genre-defying, music innovator Little Richard, produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment in association with Rolling Stone. The feature, directed by Lisa Cortés, of Cortés Filmworks, and executive produced by Dee Rees and Robert Friedman for Bungalow, reveals the daring, extraordinary, defiant life of the creative genius behind “Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally,” and even “The Magic School Bus Theme.” LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING (working title) is currently in production and expected to be completed in fall 2022.
LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING (w.t.)will eventually premiere for broadcast on CNN. HBO Max holds domestic and international SVOD streaming rights to the film. Additional producers for the film include Liz Yale Marsh and Mike Powers as executive producers; Caryn Capotosto, producer; and Rolling Stone executive producers Gus Wenner and Jason Fine. CNN Films and HBO Max are executive producers for the film.
“I am delighted to give Little Richard the royal treatment he so deserves,” said director Lisa Cortés (All In: The Fight for Democracy). “This magnificent rock n’ roll icon changed the world for all of us – Black and white, straight and gay, everyday people and stars. His story is the history of rock n’ roll: musical genius mixed with the sheer audacity to morph and change at will, seeking permission from no one. The film is called I Am Everything because that was Little Richard’s triumph: transcending all categories and expectations to be everything he dreamed,” she said.
Richard Penniman, also known as “Little Richard,” lived a life as large as his dreams, breaking barriers, and becoming a global music superstar. He was a key architect of rock and roll. His unique sound, performance, and bravado launched the fresh and exciting new genre. He also personified the fearless independence that rock inspired, despite the new music’s ascendance during an era of brutal prejudice and racism.
“I did what I felt and I felt what I did. At all costs.” ~ Little Richard
“We are also delighted to partner with Rolling Stone and HBO Max to present the rich, full history of Little Richard. This film will finally, fully showcase the enduring influence of his gifts,” said Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films. “Little Richard’s genius has been obscured and underappreciated for too long. We’re excited to celebrate his massively consequential contributions to music and culture through the lens of director Lisa Cortés,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development. Entelis and Sexton are both executive producers for the film.
“Little Richard’s career is one of the most fascinating and important stories in music and pop culture history. The film will unspool Richard’s incalculable influence on music history, at long last giving him his rightful place on the rock and roll throne,” said producer and CEO for Bungalow Media + Entertainment, Robert Friedman.
Personal insights from loved ones, colleagues, as well as contemporary musicians and historians will explore Little Richard’s life and indomitable spirit. Never-seen-before archive and insights will develop the 360⁰ portrait of the artist and the human.
The commission deal for LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING (w.t.)was negotiated by Stacey Wolf, senior vice president of business affairs, and Kelly MacLanahan, assistant general counsel, both for CNN Worldwide, on behalf of CNN Films. ICM brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.
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