Two biopics about two great but very different singers from the old days are in the works and I cannot wait to see them both. It’s early yet there’s no news on release times.
The first is a biopic for HBO about Bessie Smith. I’m seeing the name Blue Goose Hollow for this film, which may be the final name. Queen Latifah is producing the film and will star as blues singer Bessie Smith. The film was written by Dee Rees (Pariah). Also in the cast of this one are Mo’Nique and Khandi Alexander. Mo’Nique will portray blues singer Ma Rainey and Alexander will play Smith’s older sister.
I don’t think we need to worry about the singing in this one, since Queen Latifah has pretty much proved she can do anything with her voice she wants. Does Mo’Nique sing? I can’t find any evidence that she does, but with actors it isn’t surprising to find that they can do all kinds of performing – even if it’s something they’ve never had a chance to show off before.
Reese Witherspoon will star in a film about singer Peggy Lee. We’ve heard her sing like June Carter Cash, but Peggy Lee had a very different sound. It will be interesting to see how Witherspoon performs as a jazz vocalist. This one has been slow getting going. Writer Nora Ephron died before the project was completed. There was also an issue finding a director, but Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven) recently signed up for the job.
Everything seems to be in place now for this one to move forward.
Just in case you’re too young to know what these two legendary singers are all about, here are some samples, starting with Bessie Smith.
Here’s a little sample of Peggy Lee.