The architect of rock’n’roll Chuck Berry is the subject of a new documentary, titled Chuck Berry, which will be premiering at the Nashville Film Festival on 4 October.
Helmed by the award-winning director and producer Jon Brewer, whose previous works include BB King: The Life Of Riley and Nat King Cole: Afraid Of The Dark, the film chronicles Berry’s remarkable life and includes interviews with other rock legends he inspired including George Thorogood, Nile Rodgers, Steven Van Zandt, Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, Paul McCartney, Ronnie Wood and more.
Brewer was specially selected by the Berry Estate to produce and direct the film and was able to get some of Berry’s more reclusive family members into the documentary, including Berry’s wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry, who gives her first interview ever.
“He was the most important guitarist in rock history,” says George Thorogood in the new trailer that was released today. “You could almost say that Chuck Berry invented the teenager” says Steven Van Zandt.
“Chuck Berry is an icon who uniquely combined his genius, style and attitude to inspire, diversify and excite the world while redefining modern popular music,” said Jason Padgitt, executive director of Nashville Film Festival in a statement.
“In that spirit, we are thrilled to host the world premiere of Chuck Berry during the Nashville Film Festival’s 50th anniversary in Music City, where we proudly celebrate the best of film, music, and culture in one of the world’s longest running film festivals.”
In an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone, Brewer shares more details on how the film came together.
“The family members really gave a profound insight into the man behind the music,” Brewer tells Rolling Stone. Brewer also talked about his interest in exploring, “how a black artist crossed over to white radio in those days”.
Brewer also talked about how much learned about Berry through his deep dives into the archives.
“There is so much on record that is simply not how things truly were. A small example would be how we learned that, although Berry was widely known for his steely and calculated approach to business and finance, there was a damn good reason, which emanated from a history of being cheated by producers and promoters – but only once.”
Brewer continued, “He used to say, ‘never let the same dog bite you twice,’ so he made sure he was paid before going on stage, and people always talk about how hard he was in this regard, but rarely do they discuss the actual reasons”.
The film will be released overseas, thanks UK-based indie Cardinal Releasing Ltd, who signed a deal with the estate and Berry’s widow, as reported last year.
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