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Queen Latifah to Play Legendary Songstress in HBO Biopic THR

Talk show host, rapper and actress Queen Latifah is signed on for a high-profile HBO movie. The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed reports that Latifah will play legendary blues singer Bessie Smith in a biographical film.

Latifah will also executive produce the TV movie.

"The telepic revolves around iconic blues singer Smith as she overcomes the challenges of her tempestuous personal life to become one of the most acclaimed performers and recording artists of the 1920s and '30s, to be known forevermore as the 'Empress of the Blues.' The film is based on Smith's life story and 'Bessie,' author Chris Albertson's biography of the iconic singer," THR reports.

Dee Rees will direct and will write the script, the report notes, with Latifah to exec produce through her Flavor Unit Entertainment company. The project will be produced by HBO Films and Zanuck Co.

"Lili Fini Zanuck, Richard Zanuck, Shakim Compere, Shelby Stone and Randi Michel will also exec produce. Hallie Foote is on board to co-exec produce and Ron Schmidt will produce," THR reports.

The report adds: "For her part, Rees earned an Indie Spirit Award for her work on 'Pariah,' which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and won the cinematography award at the Sundance Film Festival."

queen latifah.jpgQueen Latifah