Well here we go again folks; everytime this project comes up, I always say, if it ever sees the light of day, I’d be shocked!
But ya never know, do ya? And with today’s news, it just might be on its way to production… sooner than later.
In a press release from Aretha Franklin’s rep, her long-in-development biopic is said to be moving forward, with an approved story treatment, and an ordered script. It’s also stated that casting has officially begun (no more wish lists, as has been the case until now), with Dorothy Norwood, Karen Clark and La Shun Pace (all award-winning gospel singers), set to play the Clara Ward singers in the movie (Clara Ward being the queen of gospel music, and among those that would influence Aretha’s music and vocal style, as well as a longtime lover of Rev. C. L. Franklin, Aretha’s father, with whom the Ward singers toured extensively).
There are obviously still many roles to be cast here, most importantly, to play Aretha Franklin.
Recall that, in our last post on this, in March, she said that the project had been put on hold because she had a lot of other things going on, like working on a new album.
And most recently, after all the hubub over casting – Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Nia Long, Kerry Washington, and who else? – Aretha Franklin reportedly rebooted the project and had set her sights on Porgy and Bess star Audra McDonald.
The story goes that Franklin attended a performance of Porgy and Bess to celebrate her 70th birthday, and was allegedly so impressed by McDonald’s work on stage that she just had to have her play Aretha in her biopic.
Whether or not Audra is even aware of this, or has been contacted, isn’t stated.
She’s said to be in negotiations with top directors and producers, calling the project “an epic tale with probably the most starring and supporting roles since Roots.”
This has been “in the works” for about 3 years now, probably almost as long as this site’s been around.
Will it happen? Well, she’s clearly determined to make it happen…