"Dio: Dreamers Never Die", the career-spanning documentary on the life and times of the legendary rock icon Ronnie James Dio, will receive its world premiere this week at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
"Dio: Dreamers Never Die" is the first documentary about Dio to be fully authorized by the artist's estate. According to the film's official description, it "delves deep into his incredible rise from '50s doo-wop crooner to his early classic rock days in Ritchie Blackmore's RAINBOW, to replacing the iconic lead singer Ozzy Osbourne in BLACK SABBATH, to finally cement his legend with DIO. Ronnie's biography is completely unique to the tired sex, drugs and rock and roll clichés. The film is about perseverance, dreams and the power to believe in yourself."
"Dio: Dreamers Never Die" was financed solely by BMG and was helmed by Don Argott and Demian Fenton ("Framing John DeLorean", "Believer", "Last Days Here"),produced by Don Argott and Sheena Joyce for 9.14 Pictures, and executive produced by Wendy Dio, wife and longtime manager of Ronnie James Dio, for Niji Productions and Kathy Rivkin Daum for BMG.
Argott told Deadline that Dio doesn't have the "archetypical" rock and roll story. "He's basically had three incredible careers that, frankly, any artist would be lucky enough to have one of those careers," he said. "From a storytelling standpoint, we looked at how you tell that story and not make it feel like it's the same story over and over again. History presents its own group of challenges that you have to overcome. It's a little refreshing to not be the typical 'Behind The Music' by-the-numbers rock documentary where everything is pretty expected."
Fenton added: "It's a story that I feel like we just need now. It's so beautiful that you're looking at this heavy metal dude and you think you know the tale full of darkness, but it's really a story of righteousness and perseverance and packaged in this interesting world."
Ronnie James Dio's story transcends the standard rock documentary. Set against the backdrop of Dio's autobiography — half finished by Ronnie before his untimely death from stomach cancer in 2010 — the film chronicles the inspiring journey of his life, love, and storied career. Whether playing sold-out stadiums or battling illness, his powerful voice and gentle heart have had a profound influence on his family, friends, and fans around the world.
Wendy Dio recently told Argentinian journalist Lucas Gordon about "Dio: Dreamers Never Die": "I saw the first cut of it. It was very emotional. It's very different from [Dio's autobiography]. 'Cause the book finishes in 1986, with Ronnie playing Madison Square Garden. But the documentary goes all the way through his life till the end. And it was very emotional. I was watching it with my publicist and a person from BMG, who are funding the documentary. And we all cried. It was very emotional. But it's really interesting and really good. Rob Halford is great in it, talking about stories. Lita Ford [and] Jack Black [are also in it]. Eddie Trunk [SiriusXM radio personality] and Mick Wall [author of Dio's autobiography] both kind of narrated it and everything. I'm very pleased with it."
Last August, Wendy told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" about what fans can expect to see in the documentary: "There's a bunch of stuff from [old] Super 8 [tapes] and some other stuff. There's fantastic interviews with all kinds of different people about when they were working with Ronnie or what they were doing at the time, maybe supporting Ronnie. It's totally different to the [recently released Dio] book. And I'm very interested to see this cut. I'm excited, actually, to see it. And I think it's gonna be great."
In October 2019, Wendy told the WSOU radio station that the documentary "will go from Ronnie's childhood all the way through [to the end of his life]. I think they interviewed Jack Black, and I think they interviewed all of Ronnie's bandmembers and Doug Aldrich and, I think, Jeff Pilson. They were getting ready to go to Arizona to interview Rob Halford and Lita Ford. And then they were going into England to interview Tony Iommi. They already did Geezer [Butler]. So there will be very interesting stories from different people. I think it'll be a great thing, and it'll show people a lot of things that people have never seen before."
Ronnie James Dio passed away of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010 at the age of 67.
Dio was renowned throughout the world as one of the greatest and most influential vocalists in heavy metal history. The singer, who was recording and touring with BLACK SABBATH offshoot HEAVEN & HELL prior to his illness, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in late 2009. He underwent chemotherapy and made what is now his final public appearance in April 2010 at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles.
Dio's autobiography, titled "Rainbow In The Dark: The Autobiography", was released last July via Permuted Press.