Oscar- and Emmy-winning producer Lili Fini Zanuck is returning behind the camera to direct documentary Eric Clapton: A Life In 12 Bars. She’ll team with Passion Pictures’ John Battsek (Searching For Sugarman) who’ll produce what’s billed as an unflinching and deeply personal journey into the life of a legend. Altitude Film Sales has boarded international and taken UK distribution rights.

Lili Fini Zanuck
Fini Zanuck made her directorial debut with 1991’s Rush, a crime drama that starred Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Clapton scored the film.

The pair have been friends ever since, Fini Zanuck tells me from London where she has been working on the documentary project. But, she says, “You’re not friends on the level you become when your object is to get to the truth. The great thing about Eric is that he’s very interested in the truth… We had a basis of a friendship but this process has transcended that because there’s no other circumstance that you would share this much information this openly. Because of the trust factor we have, he has really gone down roads of things that even he forgot.”

Amy and Senna editor Chris King is cutting A Life In 12 Bars with first footage to be shown to buyers at the EFM in Berlin.

David Wedgbury
Clapton is the only three-time-inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an 18-time Grammy Award winner, and widely renowned as one of the greatest performers of all time. But behind the scenes lay restlessness and tragedy. The insatiable search to grow his artistic voice left fans surprised as he constantly quit successful bands, from the Yardbirds to Cream. Stretching from his traumatic childhood living in a “house of secrets,” to his long and difficult struggle with drugs and alcohol, and the tragic loss of his son in a heart-breaking accident, Clapton always found an inner strength and healing in music.

He turns 72 years-old-this year and has provided access to his extensive personal archive of classic performance clips, footage, photos, concert posters, handwritten letters, drawings and personal diary entries. The film will be told through his own words and songs, as well as those of his family, friends, musical collaborators, contemporaries and many heroes — including BB King, Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison.