Rapper Nelly has been cast as rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry in the upcoming Buddy Holly biopic.
Nelly who has previously acted in films such as The Longest Yard and Reach Me, will play the Johnny B. Goode and Roll Over Beethoven hitmaker, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 90.
Nelly has been cast alongside Colin Hanks, who will play Norman Petty, Holly’s often controlling manager and producer, and Orange Is the New Black star Diane Guerrero, who will portray Holly’s wife, María Elena Holly.
The newest cast members join Irish actor Ruairi O’Connor, who was previously announced to be playing Holly, who, along with Ritchie Valens, J.P. ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson, and pilot Roger Peterson, died in a plane crash outside a snowy Clear Lake, Iowa, in February 1959. Holly was only 22.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Clear Lake, which is being directed by Driving Miss Daisy’s Bruce Beresford, will open with Holly’s teen years, then portray his 1958 Biggest Show of Stars tour with Clarence Collins, founder of Little Anthony & the Imperials, as they broke racial barriers by performing together across the U.S. in 1958.
Holly’s widow Maria Elena is an associate producer, along with Stephen Easley, who serves as general counsel to Mrs. Holly and The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation, and Peter Bradley Jr., of The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation.
Patrick Shanahan wrote the screenplay from Easley and producer Rick French’s original story.
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