Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Teaser for 'Jurassic World' (4th Movie in Mega Franchise) Surfaces Teaser for 'Jurassic World' (4th Movie in Mega Franchise) Surfaces Watch Trailer For Controversial Artist Kara Walker’s Film ‘An Audience’ Watch Trailer For Controversial Artist Kara Walker’s Film ‘An Audience’ Watch Trailer for 'Storms of Carnage: The Black Panther Unleashed Part 2' (A Fan-Made Film) Watch Trailer for 'Storms of Carnage: The Black Panther Unleashed Part 2' (A Fan-Made Film) Rumorville - This Actor Just May Be in Contention to Play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Rumorville - This Actor Just May Be in Contention to Play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Watch Uncomfortable Interview Bill Cosby Gave to AP on Rape Allegations Watch Uncomfortable Interview Bill Cosby Gave to AP on Rape Allegations  Toni Morrison Breaks Down Race as a Social Construct to Stephen Colbert Toni Morrison Breaks Down Race as a Social Construct to Stephen Colbert Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne Will Celebrate August Wilson in PBS Special Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne Will Celebrate August Wilson in PBS Special Review: 'Seasons of Love' Might Be Yet Another Train Wreck of a Ratings Bonanza for Lifetime Review: 'Seasons of Love' Might Be Yet Another Train Wreck of a Ratings Bonanza for Lifetime Wow! BBC Announces That Idris Elba Will Return for a 2-Part 'Luther' Event Series in 2015 Wow! BBC Announces That Idris Elba Will Return for a 2-Part 'Luther' Event Series in 2015 Spike Lee’s Kickstarter-Funded 'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus' Finds a Distributor, Gets Release Date, Poster, Synopsis Spike Lee’s Kickstarter-Funded 'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus' Finds a Distributor, Gets Release Date, Poster, Synopsis Lupita Nyong'o Will Star in Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe' Film Adaptation (On Ugandan Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi) Lupita Nyong'o Will Star in Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe' Film Adaptation (On Ugandan Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi) Whoa! Steve McQueen & Harry Belafonte Are Teaming Up on a Paul Robeson Film. Will Be His Next Feature Whoa! Steve McQueen & Harry Belafonte Are Teaming Up on a Paul Robeson Film. Will Be His Next Feature Chris Rock on That Stubborn Burden of Representation Thing ("Black Fame" vs "White Fame") Chris Rock on That Stubborn Burden of Representation Thing ("Black Fame" vs "White Fame") Weekend B.O. Nov.14-16 (Why Didn’t 'Beyond the Lights' Light Up at the Box Office?) Weekend B.O. Nov.14-16 (Why Didn’t 'Beyond the Lights' Light Up at the Box Office?) White People Don't Get It Because They Never Had to White People Don't Get It Because They Never Had to Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Interview: Salli Richardson-Whitfield Talks Playing Lena Horne In 'A Lady Must Live' + Kickstarter Campaign To Finance

Photo of Jai Tiggett By Jai Tiggett | Shadow and Act May 8, 2014 at 2:05PM

In the upcoming bioplay A Lady Must Live, Salli Richardson-Whitfield is set to play legendary singer and actress Lena Horne.
4


Salli Richardson as Lena Horne

JT: You'll be playing her from age 5 to 65. That's a huge scope.

SR: It sounds a little crazier than it is. I think there's only a scene or two, when the ghost of her father comes to visit her in the dressing room. It's almost like a change comes over her and you see that little girl come out as she talks to her father about the love that he didn't give her. So as an actress you're changing in demeanor, in context of what's going on, feeling like that little girl when your daddy's there with you.

JT: Has the rest of the cast been chosen?

SR: I've always had in mind for Jenifer Lewis to play Lena's mother. When the playwright started writing, we sat down with Jenifer, and when we did our original table read Jenifer was there reading it. People see Jenifer in all these movies, but they don't realize this is a woman who's been on Broadway with Meryl Streep and Bette Midler and she's amazing on stage. So as long as Jenifer is available, it's Jenifer.

JT: Do you plan to direct again? We know that you directed a short film called Grace a few years ago as well as some episodes of Eureka on Syfy.

SR: Yes, that's a hard one. I directed a thing for Mekhi Phifer and his producing partner Inny Clemons recently as a show they're shopping. It's a hard one to push through and especially on these network TV shows, it's not just a white club, it's a male club. And unfortunately I don't have 100% of my time to devote to it, I'm also acting. But there are a few smaller indies I'm working on directing. It's going to take time but eventually I'll start doing more. Just like this project, it may take me a few years, but I don't quit.

JT: You worked on Grace with Ava DuVernay, and also starred in her first feature I Will Follow. Do you plan to work together again soon?

SR: It's funny, because Ava and I are actually talking about a particular project, and I just saw her when I was in Atlanta. We happened to spend the day together. Every movie she does doesn't necessarily have a role for me, but she still has become one of my best friends through that process of doing I Will Follow and that being her first film. We just really bonded during that film, so it'll definitely happen again. I'm so proud of her.

JT: We've heard that you'll also be appearing on Being Mary Jane. What can you tell me about the new season?

SR: I only can tell you a little bit, because I'll get in trouble. But I'm playing an old friend of [Mary Jane's] that seems to have a perfect life - the children and the husband, and the career, and everything. So I think that maybe it's something that's hard for her to deal with. Chris Spencer plays my husband. I don't think I'm allowed to say anything else. But I'm doing five episodes so far, so it's almost half the season.

JT: For A Lady Must Live, you're launching a fundraising campaign to get it going. What do you want people to know about the campaign?

SR: There's a reason I'm doing it this way. At least for this first step of us doing the workshop, I really wanted to have a certain amount of control. That's why we're doing it this way, because it's not like I'm asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But I really need that help and support because it's just such an important story to be told.

I really need my friends and my fans and my family to help me make this happen, not just for me, but really to get another one of our icon's stories out there, and done right, and done by us, not a movie about us that's directed and written by people that aren't us.

**

Thanks to Salli Richardson-Whitfield for the in-depth conversation. 

For more on A Lady Must Live, find Salli Richardson-Whitfield on Facebook HERE and Twitter HERE

This article is related to: Salli Richardson-Whitfield


Shadow & ActNewsletter