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Everything we know about the upcoming Prince films (and one that’s not)

Director Ava DuVernay is working on a Prince documentary series for Netflix. (Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Ava DuVernay making Prince documentary for Netflix

Producer/director Ava DuVernay is working on a Prince documentary for Netflix. DuVernay is known for her work on films A Wrinkle in Time, Selma, and Queen Sugar. Before Prince passed away, he reached out directly to DuVernay to ask her about collaborating on a project, Deadline reports.

DuVernay is working with Prince’s estate for the project, and according to Deadline has visited Paisley Park “repeatedly” in the past few months. The estate is providing DuVernay with interviews and access to the Prince’s archived recordings, which include unreleased material. The multi-part documentary is slated to cover Prince’s entire life.

“Prince was a genius and a joy and a jolt to the senses,” DuVernay told Deadline. “He was like no other. He shattered every preconceived notion, smashed every boundary, shared everything in his heart through his music. 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.”

Apple Music to document Prince’s legendary 1983 First Avenue performance

Apple Music is producing a documentary about Prince and the Revolution’s 1983 performance at First Avenue, Variety reports. The concert took place the year before the release of the album and film Purple Rain, and Prince debuted several songs from the album at First Avenue that night. A number of these performances appear in the film, and the album versions of three of the album’s songs (“Purple Rain,” “I Would Die 4 U,” and “Baby I’m A Star”) were recorded live that night (with some overdubs added later).

At the time, no one knew that the recordings would make it in the movie or on the soundtrack; Prince hadn’t even announced Purple Rain. Currently, the only footage from the night available to the public includes the scenes from Purple Rain and a handful of bootleg recordings.

Delving into Prince’s early years

Kew Media Distribution has recently announced a lineup of new projects for Los Angeles’ American Film Market (AFM). Among the projects is a Prince documentary titled Mr. Nelson: On the North Side. 

In the documentary, Prince mentor Spike Moss talks about Prince’s musical influences and origins. The film also features interviews with various musical icons including Chuck D., Macy Gray, and Chaka Khan, about Prince’s impact on them.

Remembering a young motel chambermaid’s “dream date” with Prince

Paramount Players is creating a film adaption of the time a motel chambermaid won a dream date with Prince. In 1986, 20-year-old Lisa Barber was the lucky 10,000th caller in MTV’s Win A Date With Prince Contest. Prince traveled to her hometown of Sheridan, Wyoming, where Barber was the star’s date to a screening of his film, Under the Cherry Moon. 

Elizabeth Banks will star in the new film. According to Deadline, Prince will not be played by an actor, but his presence will “hover” through the movie.

Universal is developing a film “inspired by Prince’s music”

Universal Pictures has taken note of the recent box office successes of musical movies like A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody, and has decided to jump on the trend with a movie featuring the music of Prince. Variety reports that the film will not be a Prince biopic (according to Universal, “the biopic angle had largely been covered” with 1984’s Purple Rain), but rather, the movie will be “inspired by his music, using the songs to drive a fictional narrative.” Troy Carter, the entertainment advisor of Prince’s estate, will co-produce the film along with the chair of Universal Music Publishing Group, which administers publishing for Prince’s music.

Bruno Mars will not star as Prince in biopic

Rumors circulated that Bruno Mars would star as Prince in a new biopic. Although Mars paid tribute to Prince with a performance of “Let’s Go Crazy” at the 2017 Grammy Awards, a Bruno Mars representative said that the rumors of the singer playing Prince are “100 percent false.”

Colleen Cowie runs the blog Pass The Mic.

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