Taylor Swift Beau Travis Kelce Will Help Finance a Basquiat Documentary

It’s the third time the artist will be the subject of a big-screen production.

Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift after the AFC Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

Travis Kelce may soon be known for something other than dating super-mega-pop star Taylor Swift and playing tight end on the Super Bowl-winning NFL team the Kansas City Chiefs. Kelce is also on board to help finance a documentary, King Pleasure, on renowned artist and pop-culture crossover icon Jean-Michel Basquiat. The film will be made with the cooperation of the artist’s estate, according to an item in Variety.

Lizzo’s ex-creative director Quinn Wilson will direct, with California-based Radiant Media Studios backing the production, according to Variety. That company is helmed by green energy entrepreneur Mike Field and Ray Maiello, former head of business affairs at Netflix. 

The trio has already worked together on the indie feature My Dead Friend Zoe (2024), which was reportedly partly funded by Field’s sale of surplus tax credits, enabled by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Variety reports that the Basquiat doc will be funded using the same strategy. Wilson has previously helmed TV series MPower, ZIWE, and Your Attention Please, as well as Lizzo music videos Cuz I Love You, Juice, and Truth Hurts.

“Hollywood is risky, right? On a scale of one to 10, Hollywood, it is a 9.5,” Maiello told Variety. “Especially in terms of independent film. These federal tax credits take the risk down to like a five.”  

David Bowie as Andy Warhol and Jeffrey Wright as Jean-Michel Basquiat during the filming of Basquiat (1996). Photo: Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images.

Basquiat’s life, which saw him go from graffiti artist to the innermost circles of power in the New York art world but which was cut short by a drug overdose at the age of 27, has proven attractive to film producers and directors: he has already been featured on the silver screen twice in the 36 years since he died. Julian Schnabel’s 1996 directing debut, Basquiat, starred Jeffrey Wright as the artist (and featured David Bowie as Andy Warhol, Parker Posey as Mary Boone, and stars like Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken in supporting roles), and he has even already been the subject of one documentary, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010), directed by Tamra Davis.

The artist’s family organized an exhibition, also called “King Pleasure,” in New York in 2021. The retail store outside the show featured merch including items like dog hoodies, iPhone cases, Coach backpacks, and skateboards, Artnet News reported, all with the blessing of the estate.

Basquiat has also proven, at times, to be a market titan. An untitled 1982 painting of a skull sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s New York in 2017. In 2021, his market totaled a record high $439.6 million, second only to Pablo Picasso in terms of auction revenue, according to Artnet Price Database records. (Attesting to his crossover star status, Walmart even put a Basquiat Barbie on its shelves the next year.) But sales “fell off a cliff,” per Katya Kazakina’s reporting for Artnet News, in 2023.

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