Feb 9, 2011

mahalia jackson.jpg
Former "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino has signed on to portray New Orleans-born gospel queen Mahalia Jackson on the big screen, but she's apparently not going to be doing it in the city in which Jackson grew up.

The film version of the 1993 book "Go Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel" -- which tells of Jackson's rise from an impoverished New Orleans upbrining to her stature as a gospel great, including her work in the civil rights movement and her induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- will begin shooting in April.

In Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The project, and Barrino's casting, was announced late Tuesday (Feb. 8) by various online outlets including The Hollywood Reporter.

Euzhan Palcy (a producer on Will Smith's nascent Hurricane Katrina film, "The American Can") will direct, working from a script by Jim Evering.

Jackson's rise from poverty to stardom is one that Barrino will certainly be able to relate to. She also comes from a troubled background, as outlined in 2006's "Life is Not a Fairytale" -- a movie that was shot in New Orleans.

Jackson grew up in the Black Pearl section of Uptown's Carrollton neighborhood, and one of New Orleans' premier performance spaces still bears her name. She moved to Chicago at age 16, where her membership in a church choir vaulted her to eventual stardom.

Entertainer Harry Belafonte once reportedly referred to Jackson as "the single most powerful black woman in the United States."

1 comment:

  1. now I would say this is a role for Jennifer Hudson or maybe Queen Latifah (not sure of her vocal range though). Right now, I just can't see Fantasia as Mahalia