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Angela Bassett Will Be Coretta Scott King To Mary J. Blige’s Betty Shabazz In ‘Betty & Coretta’

Angela Bassett Will Be Coretta Scott King To Mary J. Blige's Betty Shabazz In 'Betty & Coretta'

Angela Bassett and Ruby Dee will join Mary J. Blige in the Lifetime original movie project previously titled Parallel Lives, but now has a working title, Betty And Coretta.

It’s a project we’ve been tracking for about a year now, and it looks like it’s finally heading into production.

The film will center on the relationship between Betty Shabazz and Coretta Scott King – specifically, accoring to THR, it’ll follow how they continue on as single mothers, after their husbands are assassinated – their husbands being Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

As already reported, Mary J. Blige will play Betty Shabazz (news that was met with much venom when we initially announced it, as I recall), and Angela Bassett will play Coretta Scott King.

Ruby Dee will appear on-screen as a “historical witness” to narrate the story, “as someone familiar with the events of both their lives.

Yves Simoneau, who recently directed a Beauty And The Beast TV-movie for ABC Studios, will direct Betty And Coretta, from a script penned by Shem Bitterman (he last wrote and directed a feature dramedy titled The Job in 2009).

The film will be produced by Blige, as well as Larry Stanitsky, with Jaja Johnson and Polly Anthony executive producing.

Production is set to begin in September; no word yet on when it’ll air.

So… Mary J. Blige sharing the same screen with Angela Bassett and Ruby Dee. Huh… This should be interesting. Worth noting, Angela Bassett has played Betty Shabazz on screen in the past… twice. Maybe she can show Mary J. Blige a thing or two.

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Joseph G.

Crabs in a bucket on this site. That's all there is. Everyone is always shouting "why she and not I?"


No interest in seeing this, just wanted to note that the "Beauty and the Beast" project Simoneau directed was actually a pilot that wasn't picked up to series. Both ABC & the CW did BatB pilots this past pilot season.


ROGER GUENVEUR SMITH should play MALCOLM X!!!!!!!!!!!


i swear to god, you fuckin naysayers are sickening! hiding behind your computer screens, lashing out against people putting in work. they don't owe any of you critical fuckers a damn thing. remember, when you write such mean spirited and careless things, you're talking about someone's mother or daughter or sister. find something good to say or just shut the fuck up!

Frustrated AF

Everybody's talking about MJB. Does nobody see the travesty in Angela Bassett, arguably our most talented thespian, playing the same ol' same ol'? No, disparagement to the legendary Coretta Scott King but, her life story is not going to give Angela any challenge at all in the acting arena. We've seen her do this many times before. I dont care if you change their names to Katherine Jackson, Betty Shabazz, Voletta Wallace, or Rosa Parks, its the same perfect, flaweless, do no wrong character. And it's not worthy of Angela's talents, it actually hinders her by typecasting herself further. Get some less talented actress to do it opposite MJB and cast Angela in the female Expendables as the kick ass action heroine or as a villain/antagonist in any film, or as the sexy maneater. Something different, damn! This is such a shame….


Why are so many of us content, and excited by, the same old stories? We know who Betty and Coretta were. Are their stories going to be told for eternity? Let's move on. @Lifetime Channel– there are plenty stories about black people that can be told. And plenty of black writers who have stories to tell! Nobody's asking for this again– why do you keep doing this? This shit has got to stop. I don't want to hear anymore about MLK, Malcolm X, Mandela, or anybody whose story has been done to death already. And while we're on the subject, let's stop doing biopics for a while. Can we get some of our creative juices flowing? Can we see some original stories?


What is really going on with casting directors as of late? Well, specifically concerning films about women of color (black women)….


Severe miscasting of two roles. Bassett is strongly identified with the role of Betty Shabazz. To act opposite that role will throw viewers familiar with her work out of the movie. Blige doesn't have the acting skill to cover the emotional range of Coretta King.


Two questions:

1. Why is this a Lifetime movie as opposed to a feature film? Heck, I'm not famous. Do Lifetime movie about me, but to minimize both Mrs. King and Mrs. Shabazz to this is a travesty.

2. What do Yves Simoneau and Shem Bitterman know about these women? What makes them more qualified than any American student that has heard of these women in history class to make a film? If you produce/direct a film of this nature, you should have an above average amount of knowledge on the subject matter.

D.C. Kirkwood

I have to agree to disagree. I respect Mary J. Bliges willingness to finance and produce quality projects for herself and others. Some of these so called real actors and professionals need to take note. It seems that some of the real professionals have been real slack in producing and writing for others. Especially when many of the actors we admire have been in the film industry for over 20 years and earn a couple of million dollars a film. Chasing after an Oscar and Golden Globe should not be end all to be all. Real actors and Hip Hop actors need to consider longevity and job security. This requires us to collaborate with each other on various projects. There is just no getting around this. People get mad at singers and Pastor Jakes for making films. Basically letting them know that they need to stay in their lane and just write a check. That's bull, IMHO!!! Get off your lazy A list behind and out do them. These are low budget made for TV movies and biopics we are talking about not feature films. The END!!

Double Standard

I think Angela is a wonderful choice for Coretta. Where is the outcry of colorism though? She is not the 'right' skin tone, nor does she look like Coretta. Mrs. Basset has played Rosa Parks & now Coretta, she is darker than both, by some of y'alls standards this is colorism. Or is it only colorism when it's the other way around??? Smh


Some of yall are being very disrespectful. Mary j Blige is very passionate about everything she does. she was pretty good in Rock of Ages and with the right acting coaches she will be awesome in this one too. dont judge her untill u have seen the film. Beyonce gets the roles because of her LOOKS and FAME. but beyonce has proven she cannot act. she smiles in all her scenes like shes about to laugh. Marys not lady ga ga or beyonce or taylor swift so it couldnt be her pop appeal that got her this role. they must like her acting if they picked her. Mary is very good at dramatic scenes. give her a freakin chance. shes a actress now. shes been doin it for years now.


Guess they haven't released the casting for the role of Medgar Ever's wife yet…stay tuned.

Just Sayin'

Oy vey! I guess money can buy some people anything. Both Mary J. and Beyonce keep buying themselves movie roles with real actors. … MJ needs to take a cue from Alicia Keys. Step back and just stick to producing. …Just sign the checks and let the professionals handle things.


More white people telling our stories. Thanks Lifetime. Can't wait……. NOT.


Angela Please no, don't lower your self to be on screen with this Hip Hopper, let her sing where she is awesome but please don't let her cross over to work with you. You and Ruby are going to look at each other and say "My God, we got an amateur in the room with us"


Oh no, Angie, nooooooo. :(

Adam Scott Thompson


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