L.A.-based prodco White Horse Pictures and Stephanie Allain of Homegrown Pictures are partnering to produce a feature documentary about musician Billy Preston, known as the “Fifth Beatle.”
Earning the name for being the only other musician ever to be credited on Beatles recordings, Preston also co-wrote the song “You Are So Beautiful,” which Joe Cocker made famous. Preston was recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this past October, 15 years after his death in 2006. Preston will also be featured in Peter Jackson’s upcoming Disney+ The Beatles: Get Back documentary event.
The still-untitled film will be directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker, producer and writer Paris Barclay (In Treatment, Glee, pictured left), with Cheo Hodari Coker (Creed II, Luke Cage) co-writing the film with Barclay. It’s produced by Homegrown’s Stephanie Allain (pictured right), White Horse’s Jeanne Elfant Festa and Nigel Sinclair. Executive producers are Barclay, Daniel Shaw, G. Marq Roswell, Olivia Harrison and Jonathan Clyde, with Nicholas Ferrall and Cassidy Hartmann executive producing for White Horse. Coker is co-producing and Erikka Yancy serves as supervising producer.
“A singular figure in music history, Billy Preston lent his genius to elevate the most celebrated artists of the 20th Century. Grateful to work with this team, using this soundtrack to explore his personal journey and finally place him front and center,” Allain said in a release.
“The Billy Preston we know was an incomparable musician,” added Barclay. “But the Billy we’ll see in this documentary was a mass of contradictions. I’m thrilled to dig deeper into the complex man under the Afro and behind the famous smile.”
Barclay and Coker have put out a call to anybody who knew Preston or who worked with him for potential recordings, photographs or personal memories to get in touch through the project website. UTA Independent Film Group along with White Horse Pictures helped raise the funding and White Horse Pictures with UTA will represent the picture for sales.
The documentary is a presentation of Concord Originals alongside Impact Partners, Chicago Media Project, and Play/Action Pictures, who present in association with Polygram Entertainment, Dave Knott, and Sobey Road Entertainment. Executive producers are Scott Pascucci, Sophia Dilley, Charles Hopkins, Jenny Raskin, Steve Cohen, Paula Froehle, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Lauren and John Driscoll and Patty Quillin, Jeffrey Lurie, Marie Therese Guirgis, Jody Gerson, Bruce Resnikoff, Dave Knott, John Keller, Brad and Debbie Buss and Andrew Trapani. Co-executive producers are Lauren Haber, Kelsey Koenig, Jane Solomon, Bobbi Valentine and Wesley Adams.