UPDATED: Producer/director Ava DuVernay is working with Netflix on a Prince documentary, two sources have confirmed to Variety. The project has the full cooperation of the late artist’s estate, which is providing with interviews, archival footage, photos and archive access. The multiple-part documentary will cover the artist’s entire life.
“Prince was a genius and a joy and a jolt to the senses,” she tweeted after the news had broken Monday night. “The only way I know how to make this film is with love. And with great care. I’m honored to do so and grateful for the opportunity entrusted to me by the estate.” The Oscar-nominated filmmaker has been at work on the project for several months.
While renowned for her work on “Selma,” “Queen Sugar” and others, DuVernay made her big-screen debut in 2008 with “This Is the Life,” which chronicled the alternative hip-hop scene in Los Angeles in the 1990s.
DuVernay’s Netflix limited series “The Central Park Five” will premiere in 2019. Her Netflix documentary “13th” was Oscar-nommed.
A source also told Variety that a documentary about Prince and the Revolution’s legendary concert at Minneapolis’ First Avenue in August of 1983 has landed at Apple Music. The show marked the debut of guitarist Wendy Melvoin and the “Purple Rain”-era incarnation of the Revolution, along with the premieres of several songs that would later appear in the album and film nearly a year later (in fact, the album versions of three of those songs were recorded at the show, albeit with significant overdubs added later).
Video and audio recordings from the concert and its rehearsals have been circulating on bootleg for many years, and feature a longer take of “Purple Rain” with an additional, seemingly ad-libbed verse that was dropped from the official version. Another song from the concert, “Electric Intercourse,” was originally mooted for the album but was replaced by the similar but superior song, “The Beautiful Ones.” A studio version of “Electric Intercourse” was finally released on the “Purple Rain” deluxe edition in 2017, although many fans consider the live version to be better.
Reps for the Prince Estate, Apple Music and Netflix did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment.