Sooo… last we reported on this project, it had been financed to the tune of $10 million, cast (Mary J. Blige & David Oyelowo in the starring roles), and was booked to start filming at the end of May, much to the chagrin of a lot of you folks. I’d actually forgotten about it (I know, how could I, right?), until I saw this MSN report today that reminded me of the much-debated production.
Well, those of you who weren’t too excited about the idea can breathe easy… at least for another 3 months, because shooting DID NOT actually begin at the end of May, as was initially reported.
Why? It had to be delayed until October, because, as you may recall, Mary J Blige later signed on to co-star in Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise and the rest of that film’s cast, which is currently shooting.
It makes sense I suppose. Blije and her people must have felt that starring in the bigger budgeted Hollywood Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise was far more important to her burgeoning acting career, than starring in an independently-financed and produced movie based on Nina Simone’s life whose box office potential was uncertain.
Though I tend to get a little worried about projects that at first are announced as sure-things, and then get pushed around for one reason or another, no matter how valid. So, I won’t be too surprised if it’s eventually announced that the project is dead, or if it gets postponed again for some other reason.
Another positive thing that this postponement means is that Ms Blige will have more time to prep for her performance as Nina Simone. The MSN report acknowledges this by stating that she plans to spend the summer “researching the life of late jazz and blues legend.”
“I have a lot of YouTube [footage] of her to study her and I read about her and talked to different people about her… I need to become whoever she was and dig in… I got to get a piano coach and a dialect coach to play her. Acting is something that I’m testing and it’s working. I don’t think I’m gonna become Meryl Streep… but I’m going to do the stuff that people believe in me for,” said Ms Blige.
Obvious guy says, uh, given that they were planning on shooting at the end of May, I assume she had already done all these things to prep for the part… and this summer’s “research” and “studying” is just extra work because you have the additional time, right Mary?