Nelly to play Chuck Berry in upcoming Buddy Holly biopic, Clear Lake

[L-R] Nelly and Chuck Berry
(Image credit: Gary Miller/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

US R&B star Nelly has been cast to play Buddy Holly in the upcoming Buddy Holly biopic, Clear Lake.

The film – which is being directed by Bruce Beresford – is based on a screenplay written by Patrick Shanahan, and has been authorized by the Buddy Holly estate through BMG, the company that controls the publishing rights to Holly's catalogue.

As reported by Variety, Clear Lake tells “the story of how Holly and other famous musicians of the late 1950s gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll while changing the trajectory of civil rights in America.”

Other cast members include Ruairi O’Connor as Buddy Holly, Colin Hanks as Holly's manager and producer Norman Petty, and Diane Guerrero as Holly's wife, María Elena Holly. Guerrero also serves as one of the movie's associate producers.

Speaking about the film back in May, Beresford told Variety: “I found myself attracted to Clear Lake because the script tells the tragic story of Buddy Holly and his era in fascinating detail and with vivid characterizations.”

Buddy Holly died in a plane crash at the age of 22 outside Clear Lake, Iowa on February 3, 1959.

Beresford continued: “Needless to say, the added plus of all the wonderful music was also a major lure.”

In other Chuck Berry news, the first trailer for a documentary about his life, The Original King of Rock ‘N’ Roll, was released this month.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.