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HBO Teases Bessie Smith Biopic Footage in 2015 Highlight Reel

HBO Teases Bessie Smith Biopic Footage in 2015 Highlight Reel

Emphasis on the word “tease” because it’s just that, as part of a much longer reel that includes highlights from 2014, and what the premium cable TV network has in store for subscribers in 2015.

But I thought I’d share it anyway, while we wait for the eventual release of the first full trailer.

The Dee Rees-directed Bessie Smith biopic, stars Queen Latifah stars in the title role. She’s joined in front of the camera by Mo’Nique and Khandi Alexander, playing Ma Rainey “Mother Of The Blues,” and Bessie Smith’s older sister, Viola, respectively.

Charles S. Dutton plays William “Pa” Rainey, husband to Ma Rainey; Mike Epps is Richard Morgan, a Bessie Smith romantic interest; Tika Sumpter plays Lucille, Bessie’s longtime lover and a dancer in her troupe; and Michael K. Williams is Bessie Smith’s husband, who you may recall as the Jack Gee character detailed in Jai’s script review here.

Tory Kittles, Oliver Platt, and Bryan Greenberg also feature.

Previously titled “Blue Goose Hollow” (the area in Chattanooga, Tennessee where Smith was born and raised), it looks like HBO is running with just “Bessie” as the release title of the film, which will be a biography of Smith, considered by many to be the greatest blues singer of all time. It will debunk many of the myths that have circulated about her since her untimely death in 1937.

HBO, The Zanuck Company, Shelby Stone Productions and Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment are all producers of the project, which, as of today, doesn’t yet have a premiere date.

To hold you over until the trailer debuts, check out a few seconds tease of the upcoming film below (it comes in around the 2:13 mark if you want to skip ahead): 

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