Wendy Dio, wife and longtime manager of Ronnie James Dio, spoke to The Metal Voice about her plans to produce a documentary that will cover Dio's career from his early days with ELF to his final project, HEAVEN & HELL.
"We just started shooting," she said (hear audio below). "We did interviews last week — a few with me, with some technical people, with Geezer Butler [of BLACK SABBATH and HEAVEN & HELL] — and we will continue that in between the ['Dio Returns' hologram] tour, we'll continue on with that. And then, hopefully, that should be out by next year — probably latter part of next year.
"We started with Geezer Butler, who's obviously Ronnie's best friend from BLACK SABBATH," she continued. "And I think we'll probably do some of the [DIO] band while we are on tour. And other people — all the people close to Ronnie, people that played with Ronnie or were influenced by Ronnie and also his childhood years and going all the way through his time with ELF, with RAINBOW, with BLACK SABBATH. And I have so much footage — stuff that people have never seen. I've got some Super 8 stuff. I found a whole huge box of stuff — stuff from his childhood, stuff from the RAINBOW days, behind-the-scenes stuff. I'm getting it now transferred, so that we can actually view it.
"A lot of these Super 8s were at Ronnie's parents' house, and when they passed away, Ronnie and I went there and took a bunch of stuff — we found a bunch of Super 8s — but we haven't looked at them yet, so we don't know what's on them," she laughed. "Hopefully some surprises… I also found a whole bunch of tapes. Ronnie would always demo his songs in his own studio, and we had all these tapes which I had no idea what they were, but Ronnie's engineer, Wyn Davis, who he always worked with, was over at the house and he looked at me and said, 'Wendy, this is a goldmine.' This is demo stuff. This is stuff that probably was never heard before, or it's the beginnings of songs, it's songs that haven't been finished, or have been finished, or were cast aside. He said, 'This is a treasure trove.' So we will go through those and hopefully put some of those out as bonus material. We're gonna do some re-releases that BMG is putting out of Ronnie, which starts, actually, later this year. And so hopefully we can put some bonus material on there. So a lot of exciting things going on."
Wendy went on to say that she is hoping that the documentary will receive a theatrical release before being made available on various streaming platforms. "I'm working with these people that just finished doing the DeLorean documentary ['Framing John DeLorean']," she said.
Asked about the possibility of a Ronnie James Dio biopic seeing the light of day at some point, Wendy said: "No, I don't wanna do a biopic. Nobody could play Ronnie, I don't think. I don't think so. I'd like to do a straightforward documentary of Ronnie's life, with lots of footage of Ronnie. I've got so many interviews that Ronnie did and so much stuff that I'd really like to just keep it very, very natural."
Best known for his work with BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW and DIO, Ronnie James Dio passed away of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010 at the age of 67. A few months after his death, MTV Books announced plans to release his memoir, which at the time was going to be called "Rainbow In The Dark: The Autobiography Of Ronnie James Dio".
Wendy is currently working with legendary rock journalist Mick Wall on the long-awaited autobiography of the heavy metal master, which was three-quarters written before the singer's death.
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.