Fantasia to Play Mahalia Jackson in Biopic

Idol winner gains weight for the role.

Posted: 03/02/2011 11:30 AM EST
Filed Under Fantasia

Fantasia

Seems Fantasia Barrino’s weight gain is less about a speculated pregnancy than it is about her being filled with a cinematic holy spirit. The American Idol winner has landed the lead in a biopic about gospel great Mahalia Jackson.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will be based on Jules Victor Schwerin’s 1993 biography Got to Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel, which recounts the life of the late singer and civil rights activist, who was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Barrino will portray Jackson on her journey from abject poverty in New Orleans to her rise as a global figure in gospel and early supporter of Martin Luther King Jr. The gospel legend died in 1972 at the age of 60.

Barrino, 26, is no stranger to acting. She played herself in the 2006 Lifetime biopic Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, which was based on her 2005 autobiography. Her biggest post-Idol role has been playing Celie in the Broadway version of The Color Purple.

The Mahalia Jackson biopic will be directed by Euzhan Palcy (A Dry White Season) from a script by Jim Evering, and goes into production in April in Pittsburgh and Chicago for a scheduled December release.

 

 

Image: Fernando Leon / PictureGroup

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