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Aretha Franklin Reportedly Eyeing Audra McDonald To Star In Biopic

by Tambay A. Obenson
May 1, 2012 10:00 AM
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Well here we go again folks; everytime this project comes up, I can't help but chuckle. If it ever sees the light of day, I'd be shocked! 

But ya never know, do ya?

Recall that, in our last post on this, in March, she said that the project had been put on hold because she had a lot of other things going on, like working on a new album.

And now, after all the hubub over casting - Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Nia Long, Kerry Washington, and who else? - Aretha Franklin has reportedly rebooted the project and has set her sights on Porgy and Bess star Audra McDonald.

The story goes that Franklin attended a performance of Porgy and Bess to celebrate her 70th birthday, and was allegedly so impressed by McDonald’s work on stage that she just had to have her play Aretha in her biopic.

Whether or not Audra is even aware of this, or has been contacted, isn't clear. Look for Audra's reactions, likely on Twitter (since she's somewhat active there) soon :)

The biopic seemed like a go back in January, when Franklin was scheduled to meet with directors and financiers, but nada since then.

This has been "in the works" for about 3 years now, probably almost as long as this site's been around. And, at this point, I just don't think it's happening. All the chatter about it has come primarily from Aretha, so I don't get the sense that any of what she's said thus far holds any weight unfortunately.

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  • woh | May 1, 2012 4:24 PMReply

    I suggested Audra in the other post about the biopic. She is very talented. Would love to see her in this role.

  • Orville | May 1, 2012 3:26 PMReply

    Audra is too beautiful to play Aretha Franklin I mean no offense to Aretha fans but she's an ugly woman. Audra deserves a lot better. Maybe someone unattractive like Fantasia or the obese Gaby Sidibe could take the part?

  • Ali | May 1, 2012 5:08 PM

    Please just stop making comments about women and their looks. Please.

  • JMac | May 1, 2012 4:58 PM

    If you think the woman picture above is ugly, it's time to go to the optometrist. You've got problems.

  • Anton | May 1, 2012 1:53 PMReply

    Aretha needs to quit kidding around and just cast Gabby Sidibe for the title role. There. Problem solved!

  • Ash | May 2, 2012 2:22 PM


  • CareyCarey | May 1, 2012 1:18 PMReply

    Why did I think Sergio wrote this post? WEEEEEELL.... of course I'm being facetious because er'body knows Sergio loves to stir the pot, and what a better way to do so than mention Aretha & Halle Berry. In fact, as Tambay mentioned, I believe the first post I ever read on S & A was about Aretha's journey to find Ms. Franklin. Oh yeah, Halle's name hit the floor and it was on... for days! And Tambay was all up in it. What... y'all didn't know? Tambay can break it down if he has to... C'mon now... Tambay is from New York, by way of some island I think, and we all know New Yorkers don't play. Anyway, I have a question that has been burning my soul - why does all the good black women, those that find success in the theater and film industry, love them some white men? Or... come on now... or they're gay? Don't front, y'all know what I am talking about. Don't make me have to list for whom the bell tolls. Now, you didn't hear this from me - HOWEVER - Zoe/Queen Latifah/Audra McDonald/ Kerry Washington/Woopie Goldberg/Paula Patton/Halle Berry and the list goes on and on. So tell me what's really going on?! Hey, don't look at me, I'm just asking the question. Anyway, on the issue of what constitutes - or what should be grounds for pulling a person's black card, I have to admit that as much as I believe I am up on black cinema and it's stars, I was not familiar with Audra McDonald until Jug pulled my black card. That's right, about 2 years ago, it happened right here in Shadow and Act. The discussion center on the top female actresses in the USA. Well, Jug dropped Audra's name and I said, "who the hell is that?". Oh boy, you would have thought I slapped his momma. But you know what - I now know who she is, and she's talented as hell. But check this out - would you believe that there's some black folks who visit S & A that has never seen Jungle Fever! Now I ain't going to mention any names :-) but that's blasphemous - don't you think?

  • CareyCarey | May 1, 2012 7:49 PM

    **Snickering** Heeeey JMac, I didn't see you standing there. *lol* Don't blame me. It was Sergio who pulled your black card. Besides, don't tell me to kiss it because I might just do it *wink*

  • JMac | May 1, 2012 4:56 PM

    You can kiss it, CC lol. I least I knew it existed - just didn't care for the subject matter. I knew about Audra a long time back and watched her in performances on PBS. Don't have to go to the theater but it wouldn't hurt to watch tv programs that aren't only geared towards blacks. You'll miss out on a lot of good performers.

  • Ed DuRante | May 1, 2012 12:22 PMReply

    No, but your SMART card will be revoked.
    Oh, I forgot, you never had one.

  • Ed DuRante | May 1, 2012 11:23 AMReply

    Because, WE don't go to the theatre much... AND, she is not a celebrity in OUR community.
    She could definitely go to a KFC without being recognized. (a legitimate test)

  • BluTopaz | May 1, 2012 9:01 PM

    Do you think all of White America knows who Nathan Lane is?

  • Ed DuRante | May 1, 2012 10:36 AMReply

    Finally! This makes sense. Audra will finally make the transition to movie star. She's immensely talented. Three Tony Awards and Black folk don't even know who she is...

  • Ladybug | May 5, 2012 10:56 AM

    @Ed-Actually four Tony's . . . she's a beast and I agree its taken far to long . . . and I need not worry she is a creature of the stage and will come back to inspire me again and again
    @WhatUTakin-Four Tony's and she's never been on the cover of a major black magazine . . . our community gives covers to Kim Porter and Puffy . . . its ridiculous . . . Our community needs to know who she is along with so many others

  • What U Takin' bout Willis | May 1, 2012 11:37 AM

    Is is some kind of requirement to know Audra? Will our "black card" be revoked if we don't. Newsflash most of American doesn't go to the theater and many black people know who she is and if they don't so what..

  • Black Folk | May 1, 2012 10:44 AM

    Umm . . . we go to the theater, too. And she's been on several TV programs. Why do you assume we don't know her?

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