Showtime Sets Eric Clapton Doc for Theatrical, TV Debut

David Wedgbury/Courtesy of Showtime
Eric Clapton

Showtime's doc arm will release 'Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars' theatrically this fall before airing it in 2018.

Eric Clapton is getting the documentary treatment.

Showtime Documentary Films has boarded Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars, described as an unflinching and deeply personal journey into the life of the legendary musician. Directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, the doc will screen at domestic and international film festivals later this year, and be released theatrically in the U.S. and Canada this fall. It will then air nationally on Showtime in 2018.

John Battsek is producing for Passion Pictures. Chris King is editing the doc.

A Life in 12 Bars zooms in on the life and legacy of the 18-time Grammy winner and the only artist ever to be inducted three times into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It charts his roots from a traumatic childhood through his difficult struggle with drugs and alcohol and the tragic loss of his son, and contextualizes Clapton’s role in contemporary music and cultural history. It also features archival materials like classic performance clips, on- and offstage footage, iconic photos, concert posters, handwritten letters, drawings and personal diary entries, as well as extensive interviews with Clapton himself and his family, friends, musical collaborators, contemporaries and heroes, including late music icons B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison.

"Clapton’s music is the foundation of our film — his commitment to the Blues, its traditions and originators is absolute from his earliest days,” says director Lili Fini Zanuck. "His personal life conveys the emotional spine of the film — his damaged emotional psyche threads throughout his life, informing his art, and causing many abrupt and surprising shifts along the way. The film traces all the key junctures: his prodigious talent, obsessive impatience, perfectionism and musical 'mission.' Mining inner strength and spiritual resolve, he somehow maintains sobriety, finding healing in music. He reflects on his newfound domestic happiness and a magical, meteoric journey which has secured his place in the rock pantheon. Despite the fact that his path is strewn with tragedies, addiction and loss, he never fails to regain his bearings and continue to serve what he holds dearest: his music."

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