Jack Kilmer has nabbed a leading role opposite Clifton Powell in B.B. King drama “The Thrill Is On,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Kilmer will play Michael, a young drummer who has a chance encounter with blues legend King (Powell), which proves to be the start of an enduring friendship. The upcoming film is based on the true story of producer Michael Zanetis’ own experience with the prolific musician, who died in 2015.

“As an actor and musician, Jack is uniquely qualified to portray our drummer on a mission. His passion for acting and music will ignite a compelling performance,” Zanetis said in a statement to Variety. “We can’t wait to see what magic this dynamic duo will bring to our film!”

Kilmer first broke out in 2013 with his starring role in Gia Coppola’s “Palo Alto,” and has since appeared in “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” “Lords of Chaos” and “Hala.” Most recently, he narrated the 2021 documentary “Val,” about his father, Val Kilmer.

Michael Zanetis and Jack Kilmer. Courtesy Michael Zanetis

According to the producers, “The Thrill Is On” tells “the story of how [King and Zanetis’] lives became intertwined in the 1980-90s and the significant impact they had on each other. It is the story of their struggle in an America that provided opportunity for both men and where truly any goal can be achieved and anything is possible.”

Powell is known for playing Jeff Brown in “Ray” (2004) and has appeared in films like “Menace II Society” and “Dead Presidents.” “The Thrill Is On” will also star four former members of King’s band — Walter Riley King, James “Boogaloo” Bolden, Michael Doster and Tony Coleman — who will portray themselves.

Blue Star Film Corporation is producing “The Thrill Is On” from a screenplay by Zanetis and Melora Donoghue. The film is currently in pre-production with plans to begin filming later this year.