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Jon Batiste to Score, Appear in Jason Reitman Film ‘SNL 1975’ (Exclusive)

Jon Batiste is tackling dual responsibilities with Jason Reitman’s forthcoming feature that will focus on the opening night for NBC’s long-running sketch series Saturday Night Live.

Batiste will compose the score for the Sony Pictures film SNL 1975, and he will also appear in the movie as keyboardist and singer Billy Preston, who was the show’s first musical guest when it debuted Oct. 11, 1975. Centering on the behind-the-scenes moments leading up to that initial broadcast, Reitman’s film stars Gabriel LaBelle as series creator Lorne Michaels, Cooper Hoffman as former NBC exec Dick Ebersol and Rachel Sennott as Michaels’ ex-wife and former SNL writer Rosie Shuster.

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Reitman and Gil Kenan wrote the screenplay based on their interviews with living cast, scribes and crew about the launch of the show that is currently airing its 49th season. Reitman, Kenan, Jason Blumenfeld and Peter Rice serve as producers on SNL 1975 (which is the working title), while Erica Mills and JoAnn Perritano are executive producers.

Bastiste is a five-time Grammy winner who earned an Academy Award for his work on the score for Pixar’s 2020 feature, Soul. He was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the song “It Never Went Away” from Netflix’s 2023 documentary American Symphony, which focused on Batiste and wife Suleika Jaouad, and released his seventh studio album, World Music Radio, in August. Batiste also served as bandleader on CBS’ The Late Show With Stephen Colbert for seven seasons.

Preston, who died in 2006, was a two-time Grammy winner known for singles including “That’s the Way God Planned It,” “Outa-Space,” “Will It Go Round in Circles” and “Space Race.” He also worked with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton and joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

Rounding out the stacked SNL 1975 cast as the show’s inaugural players are Dylan O’Brien (who will portray Dan Aykroyd), Lamorne Morris (Garrett Morris), Cory Michael Smith (Chevy Chase), Matt Wood (John Belushi), Ella Hunt (Gilda Radner), Emily Fairn (Laraine Newman) and Kim Matula (Jane Curtin). Other castmembers include Nicholas Braun (Jim Henson), Kaia Gerber (Jacqueline Carlin), J.K. Simmons (Milton Berle) and Finn Wolfhard as an NBC page.

Batiste is represented by CAA, Eisner LLP and LoveRiotMagic.

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