*Grammy-winning singer Jill Scott has signed on to star in a “Mahalia!” Biopic playing the queen of gospel Mahalia Jackson.
The project will be executive produced by Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah, and is based on the novel “Mahalia Jackson” by Darlene Donloe.
As part of the deal, the production team secured the rights to Jackson’s entire catalog, per THR.
In a release announcing the biopic, Queen Latifah says, “This is such an incredibly important story to tell and we’re thrilled to work with Jamie on the project. Shakim and I are also looking forward to reteaming with our Clark Sisters producing partner, Holly Carter, to share Mahalia’s inspiring journey to becoming the Queen of Gospel music.”
Adds Carter: “I am beyond grateful to be able to partner with Latifah and Shakim again and equally excited that Jamie has joined the team. Much like The Clark Sisters, Mahalia! is another epic story of faith that is driven by powerful and uplifting music. I believe Ms. Scott was a God send and will be absolute perfection in the lead role.”
Scott’s film credits include Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married,” Tate Taylor’s “Get On Up,” BET’s “The First Wives Club” and HBO’s “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.”
News of Scott’s project comes days after Lifetime announced its Mahalia Jackson story with Robin Roberts as EP. That project will star Danielle Brooks as Jackson, with Kenny Leon tapped to direct.
Brooks shared the casting news on Twitter, along with the caption “Been manifesting this one for five years and the time has finally come.”
The Mahalia Jackson Story aims to explore Jackson’s journey from a young singer in New Orleans, Louisiana, to becoming a revered gospel figure in the U.S. and her music becoming integral during the civil rights movement. A civil rights activist, Jackson performed at several rallies, including the 1963’s March on Washington alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “hopes that her music would encourage and inspire racial equality,” according to Lifetime’s synopsis of the film.
The film is the first project from Robin Roberts’ four-film deal with Lifetime.