February 9, 2011
By Robert Hasan James
According to Yahoo News, Fantasia Barrino will play gospel great, Mahalia Jackson in a biopic about the singer’s life. The “American Idol” winner is putting on the pounds — on purpose. The singer has signed on to play the lead role in a movie about gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Surprisingly, the 26-year-old has been asked to gain 35-40 pounds for the part.
The film, based on the 1993 book “Got to Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel,” will start shooting in April in Pittsburgh and Chicago. Euzhan Palcy (“A Dry White Season”) will direct.
Barrino, whose biggest post-“Idol” gig to date was playing Celie in the Broadway version of “The Color Purple,” will portray Jackson on her journey from abject poverty in New Orleans to a global figure in gospel and early supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr. She died in 1972 at the age of 60.
Barrino also played herself in the 2006 Lifetime biopic “Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story,” which was based on her 2005 autobiography. She will compete for two prizes at the Grammy Awards on Sunday.