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Aretha Franklin On Casting Biopic: “I Think Halle Berry’s Gonna Get It”

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 14, 2011 at 2:56AM

Aretha Franklin's talking about her biopic again... I'm sure you all are getting tired of hearing about it, but don't shoot the messenger. I come bearing gifts :)
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Aretha Franklin's talking about her biopic again... I'm sure you all are getting tired of hearing about it, but don't shoot the messenger. I come bearing gifts :)

Anyway, this time The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Ms Franklin at an event celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Thelonious Monk Institute, and, as I would've done if I were there, asked her about the progress of her biopic, among other things of course; specifically about who will play the diva in the film.

Her response to THR on Monday night was “I think Halle Berry’s gonna get it!”

Ok, so let's back up a minute and remind ourselves of all that's transpired since we first started covering the project. This shouldn't be news to most of you.

Halle Berry has been her #1 choice forever now; however, when word started to really spread about Aretha's interest in Halle for the part, which ineveitably got back to Halle, you'll recall that Ms Berry shut down the rumors, saying, “I can’t sing! If I could carry a tune, I’d consider it. Someone should tell Aretha that I can’t do her justice.”

Aretha then replied publicly soon after, saying, "[I] never expected (Berry) to sing. It was more about her likeness, and the fact that she has (acting) experience. But I guess she wasn't confident in her ability to lip-sync."

And then, about a month ago, in an interview with Oakland County, Michigan's Daily Tribune news paper, Aretha said that she'd since had a chat with Halle about the part, and that Halle was indeed interested in playing Aretha, since Aretha made it known that she wouldn't have to sing.

From that interview:

But my personal choice at this point is still Halle Berry, who I saw at the Oprah (Winfrey) event and told me, "Aretha, I want to play you. I didn't know that I wouldn't have to sing." I said, "No, no one ever expected you to sing, Halle. I never thought of you as a singer."... A lot ot movies come out where it's the original artist and they're songs are lip-sung to. That is what it would turn out if it's Halle.

Fast-forward to this week - Monday - and she's now saying rather confidently that she thinks Halle's "gonna get it."

There's been no word from Halle or her camp since that mid-August interview, so one can only assume that Aretha isn't just blowing smoke, and Halle really is the main candidate for the part. I figured if this was all bullshit, Halle or someone from her posse would've spoken up by now, just like she did the last time Aretha spoke her name in relation to the film.

I contacted her manager for a comment, but no response yet. I may not get one, but if I do, I'll be sure to share it here. Although, I'm surprised that none of the major outlets with more direct connections and clout than we do, haven't reached out to Halle or her people to verify Aretha's claims.

What's puzzling here is that, as I noted previously, it won't be a birth-to-death biopic, but will instead zoom in on Aretha's early years as a "young, aspiring singer" as she put it; Halle is in her mid-40s, and while she still looks damn good for a 45-year old woman, I don't quite see her playing an 18 to 30 year old Aretha Franklin - the years when Aretha released her first single, through her most popular period in the late 60s early 70s.

If anyone has seen the script for this, holla! :)

So there ya have it folks... not really sure what to make of all this and how seriously to take any of it. I'll be looking out for another statement from Halle Berry... like I said, if I hear back from her manager, I'll share what I learn here.

I think Halle Berry’s gonna get it!” :)

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm..., casting


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