Hollywood is about to get a double dose of Mahalia Jackson.
According to Deadline Queen Latifah and Jamie Foxx are developing a big screen biopic about the pioneering gospel singer starring Jill Scott. The film titled Mahalia! is based on the novel by Darlene Donloe.
Known as the mentor and inspiration behind Aretha Franklin, Jackson rose from brutal poverty in New Orleans to become a platinum-selling artist. She was the first gospel singer to perform at Carnegie Hall and would continue to captivate audiences around the world, including presidents, kings, and queens, until her death in 1972.
No other casting has been announced but how awesome would that be if Foxx and Latifah also take part? They have secured the rights to Jackson’s entire musical catalog including “How I Got Over,” “His Eyes Are On The Sparrow, ” “Amazing Grace” and “Go Tell It On The Mountain.”
Latifah’s partner Shakim Compere and Holly Carter, who worked with them on The Clark Sisters: First Ladies Of Gospel, will also executive produce.
Carter said in a statement: “I am beyond grateful to be able to partner with Latifah and Shakim again and equally excited that Jamie has joined the team. Much like The Clark Sisters, Mahalia! is another epic story of faith that is driven by powerful and uplifting music. I believe Ms. Scott was a God-send and will be absolute perfection in the lead role.”
It’s unclear however if they have secured a distributor.
Meanwhile Good Morning America host Robin Roberts has partnered with Lifetime for a film about Mahalia Jackson’s life. Robin Roberts Presents: The Mahalia Jackson Story will be directed by Kenny Leon (Broadway’s A Raisin in the Sun, Fences, Lifetime’s Steel Magnolias) and star Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black, Broadway’s The Color Purple) as Jackson.
The news of The Mahalia Jackson Story comes after Lifetime’s wild success of The Clark Sisters which became Lifetime’s highest-rated original movie since 2016.
A release date has not been announced.
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