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‘Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars’ Documentary in the Works

Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

One of rock’n’ roll’s most fascinating lives and distinguished careers is getting the documentary treatment with the forthcoming feature Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars.

Variety reports that the feature is being directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, whose prior career credits include producing the Oscar-winning Driving Miss Daisy, and producer John Battsek, whose previous forays into rock-biopic territory include the acclaimed Searching for Sugar Man. Although there’s no release date yet scheduled for A Life in 12 Bars, Battsek and Zanuck insist they have a clear idea of the story they want to tell.

“We have unique access to Clapton’s extensive personal archive of classic performance clips, on- and offstage footage, iconic photos, concert posters, handwritten letters, drawings and personal diary entries,” said Battsek. “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.”

Zanuck, whose directorial debut was Rush, the 1991 drama whose soundtrack featured Clapton’s hugely popular “Tears in Heaven” single, promises a comprehensive and emotionally affecting overview of her subject’s artistic legacy as well as his private life, which she calls the movie’s “emotional spine.” Yet, in spite of all the “tragedies, addiction, and loss” that seem certain to offer a prurient hook, Zanuck vows it’ll all come back to the music.

“Clapton’s music is the foundation of our film. His commitment to the blues, its traditions and originators, is absolute from his earliest days,” she added. “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.”

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