Black Keys' Dan Auerbach to direct documentary on Dr. John

Film-Dan Auerbach (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Film-Dan Auerbach (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach will make his directorial debut in hopes of telling an in-depth story about a famed New Orleans-based musician.

RadicalMedia announced their partnership with Auerbach on Monday to create a documentary feature about the late singer-piano player Dr. John. The project will tell a story about Dr. John’s intricate life along with his musical and cultural impact.

Dr. John was known as the funky New Orleans “night-tripper” musician who blended several musical styles with a hoodoo-infused stage persona and gravelly bayou drawl. He was a six-time Grammy winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer who was a white man that found a home among Black New Orleans musicians. He died after a heart attack in 2019.

Auerbach said he’s honored to create a project focused on Dr. John, who he called a friend. He said Dr. John - whose real name was Mac Rebennack - was a “shining example of the great melting pot of American music.”

“From his mysterious voodoo stage persona Dr John, to his real, humble self Mac Rebannack, the street poet, the family man, the junkie, the Grammy award winner and all that’s in between, this documentary will introduce the world to him in a way they haven’t seen him before,” Auerbach said in a statement. “I’m still learning bits about him that I never knew, and I hope the movie provides a lens into the story of the life of Dr John.”

Auerbach said he’s thrilled to work with RadicalMedia as a first-time filmmaker. The feeling is mutual from the production company.

“We know his talents will transcend the ability to now tell an amazing story as he actually worked with and knew Mac extremely well,” said Jon Kamen, the chairman and CEO of RadicalMedia. Kamen will serve as an executive producer with Jon Doran and Impact Artist Productions on Auerbach’s project.

RadicalMedia’s upcoming project with Auerbach comes on the heels of executive producing first-time filmmaker Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s “Summer of Soul” on Hulu. The production company has produced several other titles including Netflix’s “Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel” and Apple TV Plus’ “The Me You Can’t See” with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry

“We’re here to help (Auerbach) shape this story,” Kamen said. “We’re here to help support it the same way we did on Questlove’s ‘Summer of Soul.’ We’ve done this before, and we’ll do it again without any trepidations. We have the confidence that with the right team around an artist like Dan, you can do wonderful things. I’m sure this will be an amazing story as well.”

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