Anna Mae Bullock, better known as Tina Turner, whose career spans over 50 years, is 73 years old today! So let’s all say Happy Birthday to Ms Turner!
Of course she was married to one Ike Turner, whom she later revealed abused her during the course of their marriage, in her autobiography, I, Tina, a book that become the basis of the 1993 film about her life, What’s Love Got To Do With It – loosely based.
And on account of today’s celebration of the birthday of the star whose life is at the center of that film, I thought I’d dig up some related trivia; yes, I’m sure some of you likely already know all of this, but for those who didn’t know before today, now you do.
First, I should note that the film was a critical smash, scoring a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and earning both Angela Bassett, and co-star Laurence Fishburne, Oscar nominations (neither won). It wasn’t a huge commercial success, although it did well enough, relative to budget.
And now for a few interesting Did You Know?…
– Turner herself refused to be fully involved in the making of the film, telling an interviewer, “Why would I want to see Ike Turner beat me up again? I haven’t dwelled on it; it’s all in the past where it belongs.” Although she did help Angela Bassett with her transformation into Tina Turner.
– Apparently almost every black actress in Hollywood at the time was considerd for the part: Halle Berry, Whitney Houston, Robin Givens, Pam Grier, Vanessa L. Williams and Janet Jackson to name a few.
– Laurence Fishburne was said to have turned down the role of Ike Turner five times; and it was only until he learned that Angela Bassett was going to play Tina Turner, that he changed his mind.
– Charlie Murphy (Eddie’s brother) is said to have auditioned for the role of Ike Turner.
– Jenifer Lewis originally auditioned to play Tina Turner, but ended up playing Tina’s mother in this film, even thought she’s only two years older than Angela Bassett, who played Tina.
– Angela Bassett was injured while filming the first spousal abuse sequence. She is said to have fallen off the back of a sofa, put her hands out to reduce the impact, and suffered a fracture on her right hand. Needless to say, she only did that stunt fall once.
– Vanessa Bell Calloway, who plays Jackie, the friend and former Ikette who shares Buddhism with Tina, was wary of chanting Buddhist words because of her strong Christian faith. Director Brian Gibson is said to have instead instructed her to mouth the words silently during taping, and then he added the words with a voice double in post-production.
– While Angela Bassett didn’t actually sing Tina Turner’s songs, Laurence Fishburne actually sang Ike Turner’s parts.
– Ike Turner said that certain scenes of abuse depicted in the film didn’t happen, as revealed in his own autobiography Taking Back My Name. Specifically, the scene where he beats and rapes Tina in their home studio, and the scene where he confronts her backstage with a handgun. But as noted earlier, the film is loosely based on Tina Turner’s autobiography, meaning certain parts of it (several actually) were “fictionalized for dramatic purposes.”
I end with that note, adding that it speaks to what I suppose we’d refer to as artistic license/creative license, when it comes to films based on real-life events, and people; so, yes, just as parts of this film were fiction (it happens more than you’d think when it comes to biopics and films based on real-life events… for “dramatic effect,” as they say), if you were OK with that fact, then you really should also be OK with parts of current films based on real-life events and people, being fictionalized as well. Of course I’m referring to the Zoe Saldana/Nina Simone project, on which director Cynthia Mort has taken some creative liberties in the telling of that story.
Is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed, and if so, where is it?