The actor is best known for playing a young King Henry VIII in the Starz drama The Spanish Princess.

By Rosy Cordero
October 08, 2020 at 07:47 PM EDT
Credit: Corey Nickols/Getty Images; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

"Oh, Boy!"

The Buddy Holly biopic Clear Lake has cast Ruairi O’Connor as the iconic singer-songwriter who died in a plane crash in 1959.

O'Connor, who currently portrays a young King Henry VIII in the Starz drama The Spanish Princess, was hired to bring Holly to life following an expansive six-month search.

“We looked at hundreds and hundreds of audition tapes for the Buddy Holly role and interviewed some tremendously talented actors and musicians but Ruairi’s audition really stood out,” said producer, Rick French, in a release. “He’s a terrific young actor who exudes charisma and he’s also a very accomplished musician who our team believes can handle this very challenging role.”

Clear Lake tells the story of how Buddy Holly and other musicians of the late 1950s gave birth to rock music, changing the trajectory of civil rights in America. On Feb. 3, 1959, Holly chartered a plane to his next gig in Minnesota due to the challenges of touring on the road during the brutal winter months. Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson also scored seats on the flight that ended in devastation as the plane crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa, killing all three musicians and pilot Roger Peterson. It is often referred to as “The day the music died.”

During his short career, Holly topped the U.S. and U.K. charts with songs "That'll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue." His debut album The "Chirping" Crickets as the frontman of the Crickets was released in 1957. A self-titled solo album followed on Feb. 20, 1958, with his second and final solo studio recording before his death That'll Be the Day hitting stores just two months later. He left behind so much music, his label Coral Records was able to release new albums and singles for nearly a decade.

Holly was listed at No. 13 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists list.

Clear Lake is tentatively set to start principal photography in Spring 2021.

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