Lili Fini Zanuck, the Oscar-winning producer of “Driving Miss Daisy,” is to direct documentary feature “Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars,” partnering with producer John Battsek, whose credits include Oscar-winners “One Day in September” and “Searching for Sugar Man.”
Altitude Film Sales is handling international sales, and Altitude Film Distribution has taken U.K. rights. First footage will be unveiled to buyers at Berlin’s European Film Market.
“Clapton’s music is the foundation of our film. His commitment to the blues, its traditions and originators, is absolute from his earliest days,” said Zanuck, who previously directed 1991 crime drama “Rush.” “He was also forever restless in his search of a suitable vehicle to shape and grow his artistic voice, often bewildering fans and the media with sudden changes in musical direction, bands, songs, guitar style, tone and physical appearance.”
The film will also examine Clapton’s personal life, which is “the emotional spine of the film,” Zanuck said. It follows his traumatic childhood through the successes of his musical career, the death of his son in 1991, and domestic happiness a decade later.
“It is indeed a melancholic victory lap, full of nostalgic myth, but always musically potent, always looking to the future,” Zanuck said. “Despite the fact that his path is strewn with tragedies, addiction and loss, he never fails to regain his bearings and continue to serve what he holds dearest: his music.”
Battsek said: “We have unique access to Clapton’s extensive personal archive of classic performance clips, on- and off-stage footage, iconic photos, concert posters, handwritten letters, drawings and personal diary entries — elements with the power to transport audiences to each era, from obsessive student, to peer, to transcendent figure in musical history and one of the greatest guitarists of all time.”
The editor on the project is Chris King, who won a BAFTA for “Senna” and whose other credits include “Amy” and “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” both of which won American Cinema Editors’ EDDIE awards.