A documentary about the creative pairing of Carole King and James Taylor has been commissioned by CNN and HBO Max, with Frank Marshall set as director and producer, the two companies announced Friday. Under the terms of the deal, “Carole King & James Taylor: Just Call Out My Name” will premiere on CNN, while domestic streaming and international distribution rights will go to HBO Max.
Marshall, the producer of many feature blockbusters who is lately reinventing himself as a music documentarian, is coming off the warm reception for HBO’s “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” One of that film’s producers, Aly Parker, is taking on the role here as well, along with the Kennedy/Marshall Company.
The documentary will focus on the duo’s 2010 world tour, dubbed the “Troubadour Reunion Tour.” The title referred to their having played together at West Hollywood.’s famed Troubadour club when they were starting out in 1970, and a subsequent six-night stand they did there in 2007 to celebrate the nightspot’s 50th anniversary, which that led to their taking it on the road to global arenas three years later.
“I’ve been listening to and playing their music my whole life, so it’s especially meaningful to me and such an honor to be able to put together (a film about) this special reunion concert by these two extraordinarily gifted friends,” Marshall said in a statement.
Sidemen Danny Kortchmar, Russ Kunkel and Lee Sklar, who accompanied all of the duo’s shows together from 1970 through 2010, have been or will be interviewed for the project along with King and Taylor. Some filming has already taken place this year.
King is about to be in the news afresh as she is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Oct. 30, where Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson will act as presenters and perform her songs. King and Hudson were recently featured on the cover of Variety for a joint interview noting their work co-writing an end-titles theme for the Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect.”
The subtitle of Marshall’s doc takes a cue from the lyrics for “You’ve Got a Friend,” a number that somehow managed to become a signature song for both Taylor and King, individually and collectively. King wrote the song while making her “Tapestry” album, and she and Taylor recorded their separate versions nearly simultaneously. Taylor’s cover went to No. 1 in the U.S., and both won Grammys for the tune.
Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films, are executive producers. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Frank Marshall and the Kennedy / Marshall Company for this brilliant look into one of the most prolific music partnerships of a generation,” said Entelis, the network’s EVP for talent and content development. “Frank’s discerning vision shows fans the stories behind the legendary creative teamwork of Carole King and James Taylor,.”
Besides the Bee Gees doc, he Kennedy/Marshall company has also produced the music docs “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” and “Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time.”