Ron Howard is working on a documentary focused on the life of jazz icon Louis Armstrong.
The Academy Award-winning filmmaker has recently made two documentaries about music industry legends - 2019's Pavarotti, about Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, and 2016's The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years, which delved into The Beatles' concerts from 1963 to 1966.
Now, Howard and his business partner Brian Grazer have snapped up the rights to a new film about the What a Wonderful World musician through their Imagine Documentaries company.
"I find it difficult to imagine a voice more globally recognised than that of Louis Armstrong," said Imagine Documentaries' president Justin Wilkes in a statement. "And yet, the story behind the voice; of the music, the man, and the impact he had on our world has never been fully recognised on film. As the song goes, we're honoured to bring him 'back to where he belongs.'"
The producers have reached an exclusive deal with the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation to make the film, allowing them to access hundreds of hours of audio recordings, film footage, photographs, and personal diaries.
According to editors at Deadline, part of the treasure trove of material includes Armstrong's daily audio diaries, which he kept from the early 1950s until his death at the age of 69 in 1971.
"This is a perfect time to remind the world of the power, depth, and beauty in Louis Armstrong's music and story, especially as we celebrate fifty years of Armstrong's generosity in establishing the Foundation," added Stanley Crouch, president of The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation. "He was born in poverty in one of the roughest neighbourhoods in New Orleans, Louisiana. Absorbing the multilayered music and culture of that fascinating place and time, he went on to heal and educate the country and world with the depth of his playing, singing and undying belief in the value of our common humanity. The life and times, trials, tribulations, and triumphs of Louis Armstrong still has much to show the world."