*Queen Latifah will get to act and sing in her latest project.
The talk show host will star in and executive produce a Bessie Smith biopic for HBO, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The telepic revolves around the iconic blues singer 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 legend.
“Pariah” helmer Dee Rees will pen the script and direct the movie. Latifah will executive produce the HBO Films and Zanuck Co. movie via her Flavor Unit Entertainment banner. Lili Fini Zanuck, Richard Zanuck, Shakim Compere, Shelby Stone and Randi Michel will also exec produce.
The Bessie Smith project marks the latest small-screen endeavor for Latifah, who most recently starred in Lifetime’s “Steel Magnolias” reboot. Her Flavor Unit recently struck an overall deal with BET and Centric to revive VH1’s scripted series “Single Ladies.” The banner also exec produces Latifah’s syndicated daytime talk show The Queen Latifah Show, which recently was renewed for a second season on CBS Stations.