We Be Kings
Two down and out teen rockers save an ancient bluesman's life and are guided by the ghost of his wife to achieve the fame he never had.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT
We Be Kings is a fictional story about an elderly couple, I Be King (to be played by Magic Slim) and his wife Lilly (Grana Louise), who live in the Mississippi Delta and own their own juke joint, Lilly's Lounge and Disco. They sing and play and cook ribs together, are sublimely happy. And totally unknown except to the locals. They had a song called We Be Kings that played on Delta radio once, it drove everybody in the Delta crazy that summer of l958, but...then it disappeared. Back to the present Lilly dies, and I Be just can't stand the memories any more alone in the Lounge. He takes off in his truck (the Kingmobile) and heads north, playing in K Mart and Denny's parking lots (he's got some beat up jumbo Bose speakers strapped to the roof of the Kingmobile), any place to earn gas and food money to get to the next town. One thing he hadn't expected was the appearance of Lilly riding shotgun. Scolding him, buggin him, joking with him, just like old times. I Be knows talking to a ghost must mean you've lost your marbles but, frankly, he enjoys the company. He keeps heading north against the advice of Lilly. Until one night in a deserted part of Hibbings, Minnesota (Dylan's home town), he slips and falls in a blizzard, can't get up or won't get up, and decides its time to die, go upstairs and join his beloved. "We aren't ready for you yet you got work to do" Lilly tells him. "Can't a man die without bein bugged?" he complains. She guides two metal heads, Layla (Bianca Ryan) and Dustin (Quinn Sullivan), that have gotten thrown out of their band, to a half frozen/half dead I Be King. They load him in the Kingmobile, thaw him out, and as payback demand I Be King give them a lift south. Officially and unofficially, they're running away from some tough homes. He tries to get rid of them but they stick like superglue, and they learn to play together. An all points bulletin is put out for Layla as a runaway. Out of money, the three play outside a junior high school in Cairo, Illinois, at lunch hour and cause a sensation with the same forgotten song I Be and Lilly sang on Delta radio 50 years before. A student, Sam (Pryce Watkins), running a record company from his bedroom, takes a video with his phone and slaps it on the internet...Then all hell breaks lose. Layla's apprehended by a sheriff, Dustin disappears, and I Be King heads south. The video viralizes, and the song We Be Kings has the same power it did before. Feets around the world start shuffling, people can't stand still. Everyone wants to know who this crazy band is! Was the bust for real? Is this some kind of Blair Witch mojo? And where are they? Crowds start to congregate at Lilly's Lounge. Even record labels head south. Sam hits the road to protect his discovery. A Japanese tourist bus shows up. But where's the band? Nobody knows...And will anybody ever know? Guess you'll have to ask Lilly, cause she seems, you see, to be able to influence things...Believe it...And in the end, that's what We Be Kings is about- having faith in the power of grace that surrounds us, believing in yourself and the angels upstairs trying to help us, and going whole hog towards your goal and destiny.
WHO'S IN THE FILM
Magic Slim as I Be King
Grana Louise as Lilly
Bianca Ryan as Layla
Quinn Sullivan as Dustin
Pryce Watkins as Sam
And featuring the TEARDROPS, Magic Slim's band...
Does this qualify as a low budget film? Can we do it for this amount of money? You bet your bottom dollar we can. That means no money no fees going into the pocket of the Producer, that'd be me, it all goes on to the screen, and we've pulled some amazing deferments to get it done for this price. We've got an excellent DP Ed Slattery who's going to make it look gorgeous. A state of the art sound studio in the woods outside Chicago for a song and a dime, owned by an audio fanatic who collects microphones from the 50's. A sound engineer Fred Breitberg that can tell the decibel difference between a gnat and a fly at a two mile distance, and Blues Maven Marty Salzman, Slim's manager, who is digging up great blues songs for us from the trunk of his car. And a sound and editing tete de genie (that means genius in French) in Paris, Jean Daniel Plillault at Traffic, that is throwing in with the band. JD, as we call him, can take a hard drive clogged with sand from a Mali desert shoot and make it sparkle.
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