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Dr. John’s Estate Distances Itself From Dan Auerbach-Directed Documentary

The estate of Dr. John issued a statement Thursday denying their involvement in the upcoming Dan Auerbach-directed documentary about the late New Orleans legend.

“The Official Estate of Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., p/k/a Dr. John, clarifies that the Estate has not authorized the recently announced documentary on the life of Dr. John purportedly to be produced by Impact Artist Productions (and Management) and Radical Media,” the estate said in a statement.

When Auerbach revealed his as-yet-untitled film earlier this month, the Black Keys singer noted that Dr. John’s longtime managers, Ed Gerrard and Peter Himberger of Impact Artist Productions, would serve as producers on the film, perhaps suggesting that the documentary was made with the approval of the estate.

“For clarity, Impact Artist Productions (and Management) does not manage or speak for the Estate, which has its own team with, as Mac would say, a gang and a half of legalizers,” the estate added. “The Estate thanks Mac’s fans for their support and assures that the Estate will ‘Walk on Guilded Splinters’ to deliver new music and an officially authorized documentary, to be announced In The Right Place at the right time.” (Himberger and reps for Auerbach did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.)

Auerbach’s documentary will focus on Rebennack’s relationship with his hometown of New Orleans. “He was such a unique individual and a shining example of the great melting pot of American music,” Auerbach said in a statement when the film was announced. “From his mysterious voodoo stage persona Dr. John to his real, humble self Mac Rebannack — the street poet, the family man, the junkie, the Grammy Award winner and all that’s in between, this documentary will introduce the world to him in a way they haven’t seen him before. I’m still learning bits about him that I never knew, and I hope the movie provides a lens into the story of the life of Dr. John.”

After Dr. John died of heart failure in 2019, Auerbach recalled in an interview with Rolling Stone, “We lost one of the greatest musicians who ever lived and also one of the greatest reflections of this country, musically, in one man. He was a human melting pot, a human embodiment of what makes American music great. He grew up with different races and experiences, and it made him the most incredible mutt ever. We lost something that will never be duplicated.”

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