The cast of the upcoming Buddy Holly biopic Clear Lake is taking shape, as three new names have just been added to the project. Following the brief life and career fo the legendary rock and roll superstar, the movie will star Irish actor Ruairi O'Connor (The Spanish Princess) as Buddy Holly. It has since been reported that O'Connor will be joined by hip hop artist Nelly, Colin Hanks (Jumanji: The Next Level), and Diane Guerrero (Orange Is the New Black) in other prominent roles.
Nelly will be playing "Johnny B. Goode" singer Chuck Berry in Clear Lake. Famous for his work as a rapper, he has also appeared in many movies and television shows over the years. His breakout role as an actor came in the 2005 football movie The Longest Yard alongside Chris Rock and Adam Sandler. After starring in his own reality TV series, Nellyville, Nelly went on to star in the mockumentary series Real Husbands of Hollywood. More recently, he has been competing in the 29th season of the dance competition series Dancing with the Stars and is currently one of the finalists in the running to win.
Colin Hanks has also been cast as Norman Petty, Holly's "brilliant but often controlling manager and producer." He has starred in movies like Orange County, King Kong, and the Jumanji reboot movies along with roles in TV shows like Dexter, Fargo, and Band of Brothers. His casting as the manager of a 50s music icon is coincidentally very similar to the role his father Tom will portray in Baz Luhrmann's upcoming Elvis biopic, which co-stars Tom as Elvis Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker.
Meanwhile, Diane Guerrero will play Maria Elena Holly, Buddy's widow. She is well known for her breakout role on Orange Is the New Black as convicted inmate Maritza Ramos and has since been starring as Crazy Jane in the DC Universe series Doom Patrol. Maria, now 87 years old, owns the rights to Buddy's name and trademarks, will also be working directly with the project as an associate producer for Clear Lake alongside Stephen Easley and Peter Bradley Jr. of The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation.
With a unique look and a voice like no other, Buddy Holly took the music world by storm when he began releasing hit songs in the late 50s. Some of his most celebrated hits include "Rave On," "That'll Be the Day," and "Peggy Sue." Sadly, his career came to a screeching halt just as great fame was coming his way when Holly perished in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa on Feb. 2, 1959. Referred to as the "Day the Music Died," the crash also took the lives of fellow rock singers Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson along with pilot Roger Peterson.
Gary Busey was the first actor to play Buddy on the big screen when The Buddy Holly Story was released in theaters in 1978. Marshall Crenshaw also later appeared as Buddy in La Bamba, the hit biopic following Lou Diamond Phillips as Ritchie Valens. No word yet on when Clear Lake will be released with Ruairi O'Connor as the next big-screen actor to don the singer's familiar horn-rimmed glasses. This news comes to us from Variety.