Buddy Holly and his efforts to break racial barriers through music will be the subject of an upcoming authorized biopic helmed by the director of Driving Miss Daisy.
Clear Lake, developed in association with Holly’s widow Maria Elena Holly and the Holly estate, focuses on Holly’s 1958 Biggest Show of Stars tour, which featured Little Anthony & The Imperials co-founder Clarence Collins, and concludes with the rock legend’s 1959 death in a plane crash outside Clear Lake, Iowa.
The project was first announced in 2018 with a planned release in 2019 — the 60th anniversary of “the Day the Music Died” — but after missing that anniversary, the film has added director Bruce Beresford to head Clear Lake.
“I found myself attracted to Clear Lake because the script tells the tragic story of Buddy Holly and his era in fascinating detail and with vivid characterizations,” Beresford said in a statement (via Variety). “Needless to say, the added plus of all the wonderful music was also a major lure.”
The Crickets singer’s life was previously brought to the big screen in the 1978 biopic The Buddy Holly Story, starring Gary Busey in an Oscar-nominated role. Marshall Crenshaw also briefly portrayed Holly in the 1987 Richie Valens biopic La Bamba.
According to The Hollywood Report, Clear Lake will go into production in late-2020 if coronavirus restrictions are lifted; virtual casting for the film has already begun.
Producer Rick French told THR, “The undertone of the story is how black, Hispanic and white artists came together on the first truly integrated music tour to begin to break down color barriers, in much the same way Jackie Robinson did in professional baseball.”