Well, Tutti My Frutti and Call Me Super Freak: The Lives of Little Richard and Rick James Are Headed to Our Screens

Little Richard, left, as he prepares to perform at Wembley Stadium, 1972; Rick James poses at the film premiere of “I Spy” on October 23, 2002, in Hollywood, Calif.
Little Richard, left, as he prepares to perform at Wembley Stadium, 1972; Rick James poses at the film premiere of “I Spy” on October 23, 2002, in Hollywood, Calif.
Image: Rosemary Matthews for Keystone Features & David Klein (Getty Images)

It’s about to be a wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam bomb day for fans of Little Richard and Rick James!

Deadline announced today that Rolling Stone and Bungalow Media have teamed up to develop a documentary on the life and times of the late trailblazing rock-n-roll icon, Little Richard. Little Richard: I am Everything, will be directed by Lisa Cortes and executive produced by Dee Rees, Liz Yale Marsh and Rolling Stone. Speaking to the impact Little Richard had on the entertainers to come after him, Rees had this to say:

There’s a direct lineage from Little Richard to boundary-pushing artists like Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Prince, Moses Sumney, Frank Ocean and Brittany Howard. We wouldn’t have the genre-bending musical innovation, electrified performance style and the proud, identity-forward music culture we have today if Little Richard hadn’t fearlessly chopped a completely different path over new musical and social terrain.

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Cortes echoed similar sentiments:

There’s that moment when the meteorite that was Little Richard lit up my world. Burning bright with a voice that slayed and a pompadour that pridefully sashayed, he inspired me to color outside the lines, and give voice to all who are silenced for being too bold, too Black or too queer. The architect of rock ‘n’ roll, he instantly outpaced what passed for outrageous or transgressive. But that’s only the beginning of the story, and I plan on telling the rest. Together with my trailblazing producer Dee Rees, we are going to reclaim the crown for Little Richard, the undiluted King and Queen of rock ‘n’ roll. Forever may he reign!

Rolling Stone President and COO Gus Wenner also expressed his excitement for the upcoming project adding, “Rolling Stone is thrilled to partner with Bungalow Entertainment to tell the definitive story of one of the most dynamic and unique founders of rock n’ roll, whose rich history, career and gender-bending impact remains as important today as ever.” Little Richard passed away earlier this year at the age of 87. While there’s no word yet on when exactly his documentary will be released or who will pick it up, there is some other news about another musical icon (who was also arguably influenced by Little Richard) that’s sure to spark some fire and desire.

UCP announced today that it would develop a limited series based on the life of eclectic and iconic artist Rick James. According to Deadline, the series, currently entitled “Super Freak” (because literally nothing else would make sense), “is described as a funkadelic mix of music biopic and true crime. It chronicles Rick James’ plans for a comeback in the early 1990s amidst a heated trial that threatened to destroy his legacy. The story will touch on timely themes of race, privilege, and the gray area of image vs. reality for celebrities.” The series will also be written by Randy McKinnon and Nick Antosca, with Antosca, Mike Sagar and Ty James, daughter of the late musician and producer set to executive produce. Speaking on bringing the story of her father’s legacy to life, James expressed:

We are truly ecstatic about this new project with UCP and extremely excited to work with the writer Randy McKinnon. We are confident he can give the fans exactly what they have been waiting on, plus some. This will be a magic carpet ride, with ups and downs, joys and pain— a story of perseverance and tenacity, with the music being the greatest navigation system. Get ready for the ride of your lives—the story of James A. Johnson, AKA Rick James!

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As of now, no network or streaming platform has been attached to either project.

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