Robbie Robertson has teamed up with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Documentaries, among others, to produce the definitive doc, titled, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson And The Band. The Band doc will open in theaters this fall and play on Canada's subscription service Crave in 2020. Once Were Brothers is directed by Daniel Roher and will be executive produced by Martin Scorsese — along with Grazer and Howard.
Robbie Robertson spoke to Billboard and explained that the framework of the film will follow the structure of his 2016 memoir: “It's highly influenced by Testimony and, and as the filmmakers have gone deeper and deeper into that world, it has taken in more things than just what I was talking about in telling this story. The people that are working on it are fantastic.” The project's production team also includes Canadian companies White Pine Pictures, Bell Media Studios, and Universal Music's Shed Creative.
Among the talking heads featured in the film are such friends, fans, and collaborators as Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Martin Scorsese, Taj Mahal, Peter Gabriel, David Geffen, and Ronnie Hawkins.
Robertson went on to admit, “I have no idea what they said about me. The filmmakers aren't going, 'We're trying to see if we can get a bunch of famous people in this.' They're really focused on the filmmaking and telling a story that we haven't heard before. I'm looking forward to seeing what they're doing. There's great people involved in it.”
Robbie Robertson, along with the Band — then known as the Hawks — toured exclusively with Bob Dylan throughout 1965 and '66, set the scene as to how The Basement Tapes came into existence: “We had this little tape recorder and we were going to start writing and making this music for our record. And then Bob Dylan comes out and he sees this and he says, ‘This is fantastic,’ and everything. He says, ‘Why don’t we do some stuff together?’ He’s like, 'I need to make up some songs for the publishing company for other people to record.’ In the meantime, Bob is taking care of all of us. We owe him to do something because the idea was, we were going to do another tour, but he broke his neck in a motorcycle thing and we couldn’t do that — but we’re still on the payroll, and it’s like going on and on and on. So it was a way to do something, a gesture back.”