On “The” “Wendy Williams Show”, it was released that Aretha Franklin wanted Halle Berry to portray her in a biopic about the singer’s life. On the Golden Globes red carpet, Berry said that she would seriously consider playing Franklin if she only had the singing chops to back it up. Well, Franklin has given her retort via Williams.

On her show, Williams recited to her audience a telegram that Franklin sent her:
“I would’ve liked Halle Berry to portray the older Aretha in the upcoming biopic of my life based on my memoir,”Aretha: From These Roots“. She was my first choice, everything’s subject to negotiation, and she shouldn’t underestimate her own talent. There are a number of other leading ladies out there that can definitely handle the role. I never expected Halle to sing. She’s an actress, not a singer. Many actors have portrayed vocalists by lip-synching to the artists’ original recordings.”

After reading the telegram, Williams said that if the negotiations with Berry fall through, then Franklin should get Jennifer Hudson–an actress “and “singer–to play her in the film.

Entertainment Weekly gave their two cents on who should play Franklin and why, including the idea that because Franklin wants Berry to play her probably means that the film will focus less on singing (unlike “Dreamgirls”) and will focus more on the real-life story (more like “Ray” or “Walk the Line”). This argument is a neat way to look at the casting situation.

The site also posed the question of whether or not casting a singer-actress will make the film more Oscar-worthy, citing how Jamie Foxx and Reese Witherspoon all provided their own vocals and were awarded Oscars for their performances. This point the site raised can be seconded by Oscars history–both Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews were up for Best Actress at the 1964 Oscars (Hepburn for her role as Eliza in “My Fair Lady” and Andrews as her role as Mary Poppins in “Mary Poppins”), but it’s widely assumed that Andrews won over Hepburn because she sung all of her songs (Hepburn did, in fact, sing her songs, but later suffered through having her voice dubbed over by the studio, something she was against).

It might not matter in this day and age if they choose an actress who can’t sing–as Franklin pointed out, Angela Bassett was terrific as Tina Turner–but let’s just hope that whoever is cast that she does the Queen of Soul proud.

Halle Berry
Halle Berry

By Monique Jones

Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

2 thoughts on “Aretha Franklin still wants Halle Berry to portray her in upcoming biopic”
  1. Julie Andrews beat Audrey Hepburn twice. Totally deserved. First on Golden Globe. Second when she won an Oscar for MP and Hepburn wasn't even nominated.

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