Fantasia Barrino to Play Mahalia Jackson: Is She Our Second Idol Oscar Winner?

fantasiabarrino225.jpgFantasia Barrino earned rave reviews for playing Celie in Broadway's The Color Purple, but is the oft-troubled American Idol alum suited for a big-screen triumph? According to a new report, she's set to play gospel legend Mahalia Jackson in director Euzhan Palcy's film adaptation of the 1993 book Got to Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel. Let's start with the pettiest question: Is Fantasia a worthier post-Idol Oscar contender than Jennifer Hudson or not?

Jennifer Hudson's Oscar-win for Dreamgirls is tainted by one sinister fact: That movie is bad. I still remember the symphony of groans in my theater when Jamie Foxx tore into "Family." And by "tore into" I mean "eerily cooed." Dreamgirls was an overblown, plot-deprived film made worse by the world of hype surrounding it, and Jennifer Hudson managed to secure a Best Supporting Actress Oscar during a year with little competition (save, perhaps, Rinko Kikuchi in Babel), even if she did sell the big number "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." A biopic about Mahalia Jackson, on the other hand, is an intrinsically provocative subject matter given the singer's difficult upbringing, her incredible career, and involvement with the civil rights movement. If any role should be good to enough to deserve an Oscar, this is it -- and I have faith in Fantasia Barrino to give her the sweet, but fiery touch she requires.

Look. Even when she's barely using her voice, Mahalia Jackson is compelling. You want to see a movie about this woman.

· Fantasia Lands Lead in Mahalia Jackson Biopic [THR]



Comments

  • Anna says:

    I never understood what people see in her.

  • blizzard bound says:

    Seriously? She's amazing!!!!! I bought the When We Were Kings CD just for her and they left her off it -- I couldn't believe it -- her singing in that movie is outstanding.

  • Ellis says:

    In my honest opinion, I have nothing against Fantasia. She is very talented and showed millions she can over come challenges. I have a bitter taste in my mouth because I don't believe she is ready for this role to play Mahalia Jackson.
    Such a powerful name, Mahalia Jackson...the world's greatest gospel singer. Sung gospel all her life and the first gospel singer to perform at Carnegie Hall in 1950 a honor in it's self. Fantasia crosses over from Gospel to R&B music all the time. People that sing Gospel looks as singing as a ministry, to minister to someone that may be going through something. R&B to me, is about absolutely nothing . For someone who carried the torch for gospel music, civil rights I feel I has to be someone more fitting for the role. Not someone who constantly goes from the Church to the world and trade saliva with another R&B star on stage.
    I don't care if it's acting, but I feel it would be a slap in the face to Mahalia to let someone play her part with such character. I feel this should be someone else in place of Fantasia play such great role. I can see resemblance somewhat as far as face structure but no where close. I will still watch movie in Mahalia's honor, but no glory to Fantasia.
    Just wonder what stunt Fantasia will do next to make me shake my head.

  • imahrtbrkbeat says:

    Um, so, whoever is developing this project, have they ever LISTENED to Mahalia Jackson? Because the two do not sound alike. Neither do they resemble each other.
    First, Halle Berry as Aretha Franklin and now this?
    Why is this happening?

  • vanessa says:

    Miss Fantasia Barrino's talent should never be compared to Miss Jennifer Hudsons'. Miss Barrino singing comes from a different place deep within, both young ladies lifes experiences are much different. Futhermore, we are quite confident in the Fantasia Barrino we see today in 2011 she is more than capable of playing this role. Afterall, this is how her career got started!!

  • Neo says:

    If this is any indication of her acting chops, we're in for a rough two hours:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkOdrPyyUS8&feature=related

  • leeng61 says:

    Who in the world say she cant play this part she is so deserving to play this part anyone that plays a part of anything is usually what someone else had played before them so get over it GOD is the head of this train and Tasia got her ticket long time ago and it was meant for her so get over yourselves look at it or not who are you to judge .....

  • Charles says:

    People please lets be for real! Jennifer Hudson is on a whole different level than Fantasia. I surpport and love Tasia as well, but less not get it twisted. Jen Hudson is one of the greatest female vocalist of our time(classic killer). The way Jhud carries herself alone sets her miles apart from Fantasia. See, this is the first mistake, people Fantasia won the show American Idol, but Jennifer Hudson is Amercian Idol. Jennifer was a very good listener. She was a church going honor student, and its shows today(smater). Jhud is way more bankerable(a real winner). Jen is more classy(most authentic). More gorgeous(fat or thin). Fantasia can be just as great if she tone down her act. First, use your real voice stop the screaming and running all over the place(clown). People see you, let your voice speak for itself. That does not mean you feel anything. I feel the type of stuff you do is a cover up. I know you can sing and sing well. Sorry! Jennifer Hudson is nothing but the truth. When ever she shows up she leaves no doubt.

  • Lisa says:

    Fantasia will be phenomenal in this role for one reason: her undeniable emotional connection with every song or role she takes. This girl has a true talent of feeling everything that comes out of her mouth.
    Now you can say she makes bad personal decisions, I'd absolutely agree with you. You can say she is a bit over the top at times, I'd high five you. And you could even say she lacks a bit of decorum.
    But one thing no one can every deny is if they have seen any of her best performances on Youtube or her playing Celie on Broadway is when that girl feels something the whole audience will feel it to. She has what Jennifer Hudson lacks in spades, and that is EMOTION. Emotion will take a performance from good to outstanding. I have no doubt she will prove naysayers wrong in this role.

  • Lisa says:

    Fantasia will be phenomenal in this role for one reason: her undeniable emotional connection with every song or role she takes. This girl has a true talent of feeling everything that comes out of her mouth.
    Now you can say she makes bad personal decisions, I'd absolutely agree with you. You can say she is a bit over the top at times, I'd high five you. And you could even say she lacks a bit of decorum.
    But one thing no one can ever deny is if they have seen any of her best performances on Youtube or her playing Celie on Broadway is when that girl feels something the whole audience will feel it too. She has what Jennifer Hudson lacks in spades, and that is EMOTION. Emotion will take a performance from good to outstanding. I have no doubt she will prove naysayers wrong in this role.

  • blizzard bound says:

    It occurs to me later that perhaps you were referring to Fantasia. Whereas I was referring to Mahalia.

  • Ampm says:

    No she is not ready to play this part. It would be a travesty to allow the memory of Mahalia to be portrayed with someone who is not qualified/seasoned enough to play this role. Please recast.
    Fantasia has a great gift but it's just not right for this particular role. And to make matters worse lip-sync the songs. What? Mahalia was adamant about living the songs she sang. Keep searching for the RIGHT actor/singer.

  • ampm says:

    Agree she has chops--No Doubt but what's the point if you're not going to use them. And, Mahalia's vocal style is in a whole other class of gospel singing. The actor for this role vocal range should be quite similar and Fantasia's isn't even remotely close to Mahalia.

  • Melissa says:

    So who's close in voice to Mahalia Jackson ?!?! Whitney ? Jennifer ?.....

  • melissa says:

    Or Anita Baker ? She is one of Anita's idols whom she had said many times.

  • Kimberlee says:

    For Mahalia's deep baritone voice with soul stirring vocals it would be better for Anita Baker or Toni Braxton someone with the tenor or baritone voice. Hell even Aretha Franklin.

  • Nicole says:

    the person for this role hasn't been discovered yet......they are a struggling actress /singer/praise & worship leader...choir director in a any church across this nation.....LOOK FOR THEM!!

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