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Josephine Baker Biopic In The Works - Guess Who Is The Producer's Choice For The Lead?

by Sergio
May 10, 2013 1:20 PM
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There is news that a film bio-pic on Joesphine Baker is currently in development, although I'm sure many of you won't be happy about who's being considered for the lead.

No, it's not Zoe Saldana so you can rest easy.

But a production company called Noosa Films has won the rights to Baker's autobiography from its French publishers, Editions Robert Laffont, and the producer of the film, W. Lance Reybolds, has publicly stated that he very much wants Rihanna for the role of Baker.

According to Reynolds “Rihanna is one of the most talented performers of this millennium, and with her unique acting and performing abilities, I have no doubt she will bring Josephine back to life on the big screen.”

That’s right, that's what he said all right.

Of course, as you will recall, Lynn Whitfield played Baker years ago in the 1991 HBO TV movie, The Josephine Baker Story, and, for years, Diana Ross tried to get a film project about baker off the ground but failed.

But Rihanna as Baker. Yes or no?

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  • Miya | May 19, 2013 9:18 PMReply

    Much respect for Josephine Baker but none for Rhianna... I think it would tarnish the greatness of her story to have her played by that crab face Rhianna.. I think Zoe Saldana would be an excellent choice or even the lady that played Josephine in the 1991 version of the movie (which I watched again less than a month ago) .. Some one mentioned Mya, I actually think Miya looks a lot like her... But Zoe Saldana would be my top pick!

  • Kadon | May 12, 2013 1:29 PMReply

    Please no. For the love of God, no

  • sosgemini | May 11, 2013 11:19 PMReply

    The only biography Alicia Keyes is doing is the Joseph Baker Story.

  • Kim | May 11, 2013 9:31 PMReply

    P.S. Is a casting call to much to ask for? There are so many actresses looking for a break. If no casting call then look to someone else known other than Rhianna because I'm fairly sure your ticket sales will suffer.

  • Kim | May 11, 2013 9:27 PMReply

    Rhianna... Hell No!!! That trick can not Act! Did anyone see Battle Ship? Yeah... She can sing. Dance no. Act no!

  • Ava | May 11, 2013 8:24 PMReply

    I wouldn't mind seeing a brand new face who is talented and well cast. James Franco was virtually unknown until he played James Dean. Jonathan Rhys Meyers pretty much did small roles and was virtually unknown outside of the U.K. until he played Elvis. Both films were quite successful if memory serves me correctly (although, I think both were TV movies/mini-series). I don't see why they cannot just do a casting call and audition until they get the right person for the role.

  • lilkunta | May 11, 2013 7:11 PMReply

    no to rihanna as josephine baker. ri probably doesnt even know who JB is.
    no to alicia keys as lena horne. alicia's voice is too rough to be lena horne.

    i think mya is a good choice as she can dance. she trained in dancing growing up.

    Other talents are Aunjanue Ellis, Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose, Joy Bryant, Annie Ilonzeh, Faune A. Chambers, Yaya Alafia, Naomie Harris, Rutina Wesley, or Nicole Beharie.

    Or cast unknown faces.

  • Justin | May 11, 2013 4:53 AMReply

    HELL NO!...I am a firm believer that if something is not broken, do not attempt to fix it. Lynn Whitfield as Josephine Baker was so good that she earned an Emmy award for her performance. I think it would be disrespectful to the legacy of Josephine Baker to throw a "pop" star of the moment into a movie about her life for the sake of an "audience."

  • JMS | May 11, 2013 12:17 AMReply

    NO! I hate when singers portray other singers.

    Mya is a terrible actress. That Heggins girl is OK visually, but can she act.

  • ALM | May 10, 2013 11:13 PMReply

    Mya would be a great choice. Thanks Truthfully

  • Kye | May 10, 2013 9:02 PMReply

    Ri Ri is a perfect choice, beautiful and talented. I'd rather spend my money on Rihanna, at least I know she can sing.

  • Jojo | May 13, 2013 8:31 PM

    That's sarcasm, right?

  • Justin D. | May 10, 2013 7:46 PMReply

    There must be another Rihanna out there that I'm not aware of, because there's no way this guy has seen the R&B/Pop singer's "acting" and thought it was good enough for porn let alone a biopic about Josephine Baker. Hell, I'd rather it was Zoe Saldana.

  • BluTopaz | May 10, 2013 7:02 PMReply

    I would vote for the actress from Medicine for Melancholy, she's gorgeous, has a quiet intensity about her and ironically looks like a young Lynn Whitfield AND Miss Baker-I don't know if she can dance though. But watch them go a-head (ha) with Rihanna just to attract the younguns who have to google Josephine Baker's name.

    Hell no to the usual suspects noted-Zoe Saldana are ya'll serious? Who next in the history of Black female icons would she get to play and YES I KNOW SHE ACKNOWLEDGES HERSELF AS BLACK. She's flat and I don't see her playing any dynamic Latina icons either.

  • ALM | May 10, 2013 11:14 PM

    Great choice, Blutopaz. I googled Ms. Heggins, and she indeed looks like she could be Lynn Whitfield's daughter.

  • Vanessa Martinez | May 10, 2013 7:14 PM

    Great choice, yes, TRACEY HEGGINS!

  • K | May 10, 2013 5:41 PMReply

    Rihanna's unique acting abilities? I must have missed that.

  • Darkan | May 10, 2013 5:35 PMReply

    Definitely Alicia Keys for Lena Horne. Don't wait too late Alicia.

  • CC | May 10, 2013 4:59 PMReply

    I'll take door number 2!

    *The door opens. The court jester, aka gossip hound, aka Sergio Mims runs out holding a sign*


  • Donella | May 10, 2013 4:48 PMReply

    I have faith in Alicia Keys and her respect for the acting craft, but I'm holding out hope for her to portray Lena Horne.

  • Rik | May 10, 2013 4:36 PMReply

    A few people here got it right: it's ALL about box office presence. Producers don't really seem to care about the "right" choice for a role. They're concerned about the choice which will sell the most tickets. Someone mentioned a slew of serious, artistic choices. Those women haven't sold enough tickets, pure and simple. Until Hollywood changes, or we change our distribution model so Hollywood doesn't control what we see, or (gasp) we make bold, original choices about what we watch and how we watch it, Rihanna and Chris Brown will re-remake "Gatsby" in about ten years, right after their divorce.

  • D.A. | May 10, 2013 4:24 PMReply

    I'm not a one to hate on anyone. But based off of what I've seen of Rihanna's performances and films I'll say NO (this is coming from someone who has some of her discography). Rihanna is what I call a machine-backed artist. Although her albums maybe dope and her songs catchy, her live performances are terrible for the most part. And her acting is atrocious according to those who've seen her try to 'act'.

    The only issue with Zoe Saldana is only in relation to her portraying Nina Simone. Which even the detractors of her taking that role will tell you that she is a great actor, just not for 'that'. I'll take Zoe Saldana for this one, and I see others have mentioned Alicia Keys which I can't say is a terrible choice.

  • Qiana M Davis | May 10, 2013 3:48 PMReply

    I like Rihanna but to play someone as epic as Josephine Baker? I don't see it. Josephine was faced with deep seated racism and sexism. Maybe Mr. Reynolds suggested Rihanna because of both entertainers parallels with their bold confidence, star power and sexuality but that's where the similarities end. Rihanna's big screen debut in "Battleship" and identity crisis don't count as research material to

    To the person who said Rihanna is no Beyonce...she's not trying to be. She's her own artist. They aren't even comparable

    Now Alicia Keys hmm, that would make an interesting choice if we're going to go the singer route otherwise there are other actresses in Hollywood who are better suited even Zoe

  • NADELL | May 10, 2013 3:47 PMReply

    I almost choked on my popcorn!
    No to Alicia too. If anything Alicia should play Lena Horne.
    But neither one of them should play Baker. I would pick Janelle Monae - if they desperately want an artist to portray her.

  • Darkan | May 10, 2013 3:20 PMReply

    Not in a million years Rhianna. It's damn sure not going to theaters. Hell, that's actually a role I could have seen Zoe Saldana play. Hollywood got it so backwards. Smdh. Maybe Kerry Washington so have taken a crack at it. I don't think whether the actor can sing or not should make a difference. I'd rather them lip sync anyway. Lynn Whitfield was brilliant in the role and it will be hard for anyone to top what she did.

  • Sara | May 10, 2013 3:19 PMReply

    I'm at a loss for words. When I read the title, Rihanna didn't even come to mind. I don't even know how people get the rights to a story, when they don't even have the integrity of the film in mind. But seriously Rihanna has only acted twice that I can remember; one was a dance film and the other "Battleship." I don't think her performances could ever, ever be viewed as "unique acting." I am not even going to get into her stage presence, lets just say she is no Beyonce, Fantasia, or Ciara. So have no idea where W. Lance Reybolds is coming from. Is Rihanna attractive? Yes. Is she provocative? Yes. Does she have hit and catchy singles? Yes. Everything else makes no sense.

    There are so many other actresses you can choose from that are talented, like Aunjanue Ellis, Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose, Joy Bryant, Annie Ilonzeh, Faune A. Chambers, Yaya Alafia, Naomie Harris, Rutina Wesley, or Nicole Beharie. Another option is to have a casting call for new or unknown faces.

  • S. | May 10, 2013 2:54 PMReply

    1) Clearly he didn't see her amazing 'Acting' skills in battleship. he might change his mind if he did.

    2) At least it's not Beyonce.

  • Bee | May 10, 2013 10:51 PM


  • IDK | May 10, 2013 2:40 PMReply

    My choice would be May like "truthfully speaking" suggested or Alicia Keys

  • IDK | May 10, 2013 2:39 PMReply

    Alicia Keys looks more like her than Rihanna

  • Truthfully Speaking | May 10, 2013 2:32 PMReply

    First, I think Rihanna as Josephine Baker is as insulting as her name circulating to play the late Whitney Houston or rumored Bodyguard remake month's back. If you are going to go with a dance talent and limited acting AT LEAST consider someone who actually singer MYA! What happened to her? She did a few films and danced her ass off to Runner Up on Dancing with the Stars & in CHICAGO a decade ago. Get her! She kind of favors her in this pic. Grab a banana skirt and make THAT happen. Rihanna #NEVER

  • Nadell | May 10, 2013 3:49 PM

    OMgosh, yes Mya! She looks like her! Good choice!

  • blksista | May 10, 2013 2:16 PMReply

    GET AN ACTRESS WHO CAN SING! Not a singer who cannot act. Damn! When will they get the message that just a script cannot fill in the cracks that someone like Rihanna creates?

  • PBG | May 10, 2013 2:11 PMReply

    No. No. NO. NO! NOOOO!!!!

    "I said, HELL NAWL."

  • Jug | May 10, 2013 2:09 PMReply

    Fuck. My. Life.

  • Justin W | May 10, 2013 2:23 PM


  • Matt | May 10, 2013 2:07 PMReply

    Josephine Baker, despite the film being made for cable, was the perfect, definitive portrayal of the performer and I am not sure anyone they choose will stack up to Lynn Whitfield's volcanic, soulful and vivacious performance.

  • Cordell | May 10, 2013 2:00 PMReply

    I should become a casting director lol. First Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone, then Rihanna possibly as Josephine Baker whtat's next Beyonce as Harriet Tubman????

  • r.chandler | May 10, 2013 4:35 PM

    these people are NEVER gonna learn. smdh

  • Erik W | May 10, 2013 1:45 PMReply

    The producers of that "Alex Cross" debacle said the same crap about Tyler Perry and his "acting chops" and look at how that movie flopped.

    The producers need to tell the truth, this has NOTHING to do with her acting ability, it has to do with putting asses in seats. They could give two fucks about acting ability.

  • Branden | May 10, 2013 1:39 PMReply

    I am sure that Rihanna can bring the LOOK of Josephine Baker but everything else no. Just no. How about trying to find new talent?

  • SHAWN BEE | May 10, 2013 3:09 PM

    You need star talent. Not a fan but she's a good pick.

  • Juanito | May 10, 2013 1:33 PMReply

    There is something in Baker's face that reminds me of Alicia Keys. A classier and better artist than Rihanna. What do they mean bu unique acting skills ? Inexistent ?

  • stnh | May 10, 2013 1:31 PMReply

    Due to the uncompromising acting she displayed in 'Battleship' I'd say NO!

  • Donella | May 10, 2013 1:30 PMReply

    I believe that this is the role in which Zoe Saldana would have won acceptance and support. Not only can she act, but Saldana also trained as a dancer and can move on stage. I would have picked Saldana over Rihanna (non-actress) every day of the week. Oh well... that's an alternate reality.

  • D.A. | May 10, 2013 4:32 PM

    OMGosh, I swear people will make up anything when they see someone of color with a white guy. It's one of the bane of the black community even to this day. I say that because there's not one shred of evidence to suggest that Zoe Saldana doesn't identify with being Black + Latino. As a matter of fact, she's been quoted for saying (and not in these exact words) that hispanics need to accept the fact that they have African roots or black in them. It's nothing she's ever been ashamed of. but ever since people found out she got intimate with a white guy she's not really 'black'. The lamest excuse in the world if you ask me.

  • Carl | May 10, 2013 1:55 PM


    Are you stupid?

    Did you skip history class smoking crack with your mother? NEWS FLASH: AFRICANS WERE SENT TO THE CARIBBEAN TOO! NOT JUST AMERICA!

    Lazy bastard, Google sometime and learn something. She is black, claims to be black and you are a fucking idiot who doesn't know shit about the history of the slave trade!

  • Winston | May 10, 2013 1:49 PM

    "I believe that this is the role in which Zoe Saldana would have won acceptance and support."

    Really? Even though Zoe isn't "black"? Even though Zoe's a Latina?

    Are you crazy? People would lose their fracking minds over that casting.

  • MICHABOA | May 10, 2013 1:23 PMReply

    NO, NON, NIET!

  • Frances | May 10, 2013 2:27 PM

    I vote for Alicia Keys!

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