Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Fodder on her wings
In a move that will certainly make or break her future in box office vehicles to come, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige has signed on to headline an MTV Films biopic of... are you ready to keep a straight face after the "run that by me one mo' gin?" shock value marinates?
The MTV Films/Paramount Pictures project will chronicle Simone's ascent to stardom and her relationship with Paris-based manager Clifton Henderson.Since I have a pocket full of Nina stored on the Nano and already had the misfortune of seeing MJB's ill-fated debut in Prison Song (the god awful vanity piece starring Q-Tip and constantly rerun on BET as an example of "Black Star Power"), I'm truly disturbed at this piece of casting. A legend like this jazz diva personified deserves to have an actress with the chops to truly bring the essence of her story to life. One choice that immediately springs to mind is the criminally underrated Heather Headley. Not only does she look the part (and reps my T&T massive always!), but also has a Best Actress Tony to back up her impressive pipes. But Hollywood's lust for a marquee name over the lesser known but infinitely able strikes again. The prospects of having classics like Four Women and I Loves You Porgy reduced to lung shredding dramatics and a Bad Boy remix to House Of The Rising Sun as a bonus soundtrack cut makes me want to barf. If La Nina hadn't already passed on, I'm sure the news alone would be enough to resurrect her corpse and cause cognitive heart failure.
Simone, known as the high priestess of soul, rose to fame in the '60s with signature jazz ballads and such powerful protest songs as "Mississippi Goddam" and "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black," an anthem of the civil rights movement. In 1974, the chanteuse went into exile, eventually ending up in Paris, where she died in 2003. The film will be produced by Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine along with Lauren Lloyd, Gene Kirkwood and Eminem's manager, Paul Rosenberg. A director has not been named, but the screenplay will be penned by television writer Cynthia Mort ("Will & Grace," "Roseanne").
May the ghost of Ms. Simone cast a spell on the preproduction so this train wreck in the making never ventures past the cutting room floor.
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