File this one under “unconfirmed” for now.
According to a number of UK media outlets, Queen Latifah is attached to star in a biopic on the life of Peggielene Bartels, the then 55-year-old Ghanaian American secretary (in 2008), living in a modest one-bedroom condo just outside Washington D.C., who learned that she had become the King of Otuam, a small fishing village on the coast of Ghana.
The story goes… The previous king of Otuam, who was Bartels’s uncle, had just died. The village elders, who remembered Bartels from the times she’d visited with her mother, decided to anoint her as their new ruler.
After the initial shock, Bartels decided to accept the kingship, and after working for nearly three decades as an Administrative Assistant at the Ghanaian Embassy in the United States, went back to Ghana to wear her King crown, becoming King Peggy – the first female king of Otuam, reigning over approximately 7,000 people!
Upon arriving for her crowning ceremony in Otuam, she discovered the dire reality: there’s no running water, no hospital, no schools, and many of the village elders are corrupt. To make matters worse, her uncle (the late king) sits in a morgue awaiting a proper funeral in the royal palace, which is in ruins.
And over the following few years, she not only transformed herself, but the community she ruled over as well.
Her story was documented in a book titled, aptly, King Peggy, which Will Smith has reportedly bought the rights to, for Queen Latifah to star in.
Certainly a fascinating story that I’d love to see told on screen. Whether Latifah is the right person for the role remains to be seen… assuming the project becomes a reality.
Bartels has reportedly given Queen Latifah her official seal of approval to play her in the film, stating, “I cannot think of anyone better to play me than Queen Latifah because there is even a little physical resemblance.”
I found the above photo on the King Peggy Facebook page (although with no reference to a film), dated March 24. So it could very well be that this is definitely in the works, and conversations have been taking place between all parties involved, for several months now.
Here’s King Peggy in an extended interview with Tavis Smiley, telling her story: