B.B. King, also known by his given name Riley B. King, was an American record producer, singer, songwriter and guitarists. He was highly regarded for his unique style of playing solo guitar through a fluid bending of the strings that produced a shimmering vibrato. His style was a powerful influence on what would become the electric blues scene. There have already been films and documentaries dedicated to his memory and the contributions that he made to the music industry, but if there were to be a new one that focused mostly upon the life of the man, with the music as an incidental, we think true BB King fans would be thrilled. It would take a very special actor to satisfactorily represent the music legend, but we have five in mind.
5. Idris Elba
Idris Elba is our fifth choice to play the role of B.B. King in a film about his life. Elbacame from adverse circumstances growing up as a child. There wasn’t much money, especially in his early years when he was trying to become an actor, but he managed to get by until he was cast in the soap opera “Family Affairs” in 1997. He went on to star in several films and television series including “Dangerfield” in 1995, “The Wire” in 2002, and also appearing as Heimdall in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. More recently he’s appeared in “American Gangster,” “Takers,” “Thor,” “Prometheus,” and “Pacific Rim.” He has a wide range of acting experiences and we believe he could portray the late musician with a depth of character.
4. Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx has a great deal of experience in both the acting and in the music business. Although he’s a talented comedian, he is also an excellent character development actor. In addition to this, he has experience as a singer, a songwriter and as a record producer, which he has in common with the late B.B. King. Foxx has a vast wealth of practical experience from which to draw upon in preparation for such a role. He has the ability to understand where BB King was at in certain parts of his life, and to get in his head, so to speak. Jamie has proven that he has the skills and ability to bring a real-life personality to life on the big screen, adn he’s given us several examples. He played the role of Ray Charles in the 2004 film about his life titled “Ray.” We believe that the Golden Globe award-winning actor would be a good choice to play the role of King.
3. Chadwick Boseman
Our third choice is American actor Chadwick Boseman. he’s yet another actor who is great at playing biographies of famous people. Although best known for playing the superhero in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” he was also cast in the role of Jackie Robinson in “42,” and he also portrayed James Brown in “Get on Up.” Boseman has either starred in or co-starred in a number of important biopics including “The Express” in the role of Ernie Davis, and also in a variety of crime and action dramas.
2. Ice Cube
Our second choice for the role of B.B. King in film work is Ice Cube. He’s an actor who knows the film scene as well as music, as he is also a singer and songwriter with the band NWA, famous for “Straight Outta Compton.” He left the band and went on to produce numerous albums, which is something that he has in common with the late B.B. King, and he’s helped numerous artists to get their start in the music industry. He made his film debut in the 1991 film “Boyz n the Hood,” and went on to also star in “Trespass,” in 1992, in “Dangerous Ground” in 1997, followed by “Anaconda” in 1997. He’s also a director and a screenwriter to boot.
1. Donald Glover
Our first choice of actor to play the part of B.B. King is Donald Glover, otherwise known as Childish Gambino. Glover is an actor as well as a comedian, writer, director, musician, DJ, and producer. He has the expertise about the music business to make the role of BB King believable. His professional career started when he was just 23 years old, and a student at New York University. Tina Fey hired him to write for “30 Rock,” the NBC sitcom. His first acting gig was as a college student in the sitcom “Community.” He’s the creator and director for the FX series “Atlanta,” and he’s received recognition for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series as well as Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy. He’s appeared in several films as well.
While it’s true that not just any actor could do justice to the role of the great B.B. King, there are at least five that we believe could do a convincing job. A film that is about his life including the struggles and the good times, and the man behind the music, would be something that everyone would find interesting. B.B. King is a part of our nation’s musical history. Idris Elba is a character developer on-screen, while Jamie Foxx has the practical experience to bring his story into clearer view. We liked Chadwick Boseman’s rendition of James Brown, and his portrayed the artist flawlessly. Ice Cube also has the experience of life in the music industry to draw upon and is also a talented and versatile actor. Donald Glover, our top contender is a well-rounded actor who has a tremendous talent for the creation of characters and getting to the back-story of a character. He also has experience in the music industry, but any of these five actors would do well.