Dennis Quaid is turning Charley Pride’s life into a movie.
Quaid revealed his new production company Bonniedale, which he formed with his wife, Laura Quaid, and Ben Howard, this week. The company is initially focusing on feel-good, relatable themes in the vein of Quaid’s most popular movies, including “The Rookie,” “Parent Trap” and “The Right Stuff.”
Pride’s biopic, dubbed “American Pride,” is the company’s first project.
According to Deadline, Empire’s Dianne Houston will write the script and Coming 2 America’s Craig Brewer will direct. Bonniedale will produce alongside Brewer and Third Coast Content. Quaid will portray Pride’s friend “Cowboy” Jack Clement. Clement and Pride wrote and recorded many of his breakthrough songs. Clement also mentored Quaid in his own music career. There’s no information on who will play Pride.
“Charley Pride was the Jackie Robinson of country music,” Quaid told Deadline. “He became a star at a time when that didn’t seem possible. It is a very interesting story of a man getting his dreams, the relationship that he and his wife over 50 years, and how difficult it was for Pride to be regarded by people of his own color who gravitated to other forms of music, much less (country music) fans in the south who were resistant to welcoming a Black singer into the fold. In fact, when RCA first signed him to a deal and released his early albums, they did not put his photo on the album cover.”
Quaid explained that Pride had a distinctive voice but that people didn’t know he was Black when he went on tour. When he walked out, the audience was surprised.
“He would say, ’I guess you’re wondering why I have this permanent tan?’” Quaid said. “He had this way of disarming people. He had a huge personality. It comes down to a story of how color doesn’t really matter; it’s about reaching people, which makes his story relevant to today.”
Quaid frequently met with Pride about the film before the “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’” singer died from COVID-19 in late 2020. There is no release date for the film.