Jack Ryan and The Wire alum Wendell Pierce announced on Monday he’ll be playing blues legend B.B. King in the upcoming biopic The Thrill Is On. Fans of King will likely spot the biopic’s title as a riff on one of King’s most treasured hits, “The Thrill Is Gone.” This will be Pierce’s first film role in a hot minute, with his most recent movie appearances in Burning Cane and Clemency occurring in 2019 and The Thrill Is On likely not hitting theaters until at least 2021. Pierce is no stranger to portraying real-life figures onscreen, having previously playing Clarence Thomas in the HBO drama Confirmation and Rev. Hosea Williams in Selma.
Pierce shared the news he’ll be playing King in a series of tweets on Monday evening. In the first tweet, Pierce posted side-by-side photos of King and himself, writing, “We are official. Preparation has begun on a film where I will be honored to play the great, BB King. Humbled,” and in another tweet, Pierce indicated he had made a promise to King before the musician’s death in 2015 to do him justice in a movie: “I promised BB King before he died, I will honor him and his creative genius. An American Icon.”
We’ll keep you posted on The Thrill Is On as this project develops. In the meantime, you can check out Wendell Pierce’s casting announcement below.