Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

TV: Queen Latifah to Star as Bessie Smith in HBO Biopic

News
by Inkoo Kang
May 2, 2014 11:14 AM
2 Comments
  • |

Queen Latifah will play jazz and blues legend Bessie Smith in an HBO movie written and directed by Dee Rees. Latifah will also serve as an executive producer on the project.

An adaptation of Chris Albertson's biography Bessie, the movie will focus on Smith's difficult personal life and her career as the highest-paid black entertainer of the 1920s. Before her premature death at age 43 in a car accident, Smith was married just once. Her husband of six years reportedly had difficulty accepting his wife's bisexuality. She had an illustrious but short career, earning the nickname "Empress of the Blues."

Latifah was last seen on Lifetime's Steel Magnolias remake. Rees' 2011 film Pariah, the acclaimed black lesbian coming-of-age drama, garnered an Independent Spirit Award acting nod for Adepero Oduye, who went on to co-star as Eliza in 12 Years a Slave

Listen to Bessie Smith's "St. Louis Blues," a collaboration with Louis Armstrong, and "Down Hearted Blues," a song preserved by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."


[h/t THR]

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

2 Comments

  • Melissa M. Wilson | May 2, 2014 3:44 PMReply

    I have often hoped that someday Queen Latifah would portray the life of the wonderful Pearl Bailey. I have no doubt she would nail it. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  • Chris Albertson | May 2, 2014 5:44 PM

    She is a far better fit for the Bessie Smith role, believe me. I don't think they could have made a better choice—I just learned of this yesterday, but it is something I have hoped for since I first saw Latifah.

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Half of Sarajevo Film Fest Doc Contenders ...
  • Amma Asante Inspires Women Filmmakers ...
  • New York's Women’s Project Theater Hires ...
  • 17% of Venice Film Fest's Main Lineup ...
  • Trailer Watch: Dear White People Tackles ...
  • You're the Worst: Misanthropes In L ...
  • Amanda de Cadenet on Becoming the Newest ...
  • Trailer Watch: Fifty Shades of Grey ...
  • First-Time Female Filmmakers Take Home ...
  • Only 10% of Toronto Lineup So Far Directed ...