Halle Berry looks to be the favorite to play the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, in an upcoming biopic.
Berry, Franklin’s first choice for the role, initially turned down the film offer in January. But in a new interview with Maclean’s, a Canadian magazine, Franklin insists Berry is “back in the game.” (Franklin and Rice make music at Philly concert [VIDEO])
“I saw her at the curtain of Oprah’s farewell event and she let me know that she still wants to play the role,” Franklin said.
According to the singer, Berry turned down the role because she thought she would have to do her own singing in the film. But Franklin assured her that wasn’t the case. “She didn’t know that she wasn’t expected to sing. I told her, ‘No, we never expected you to sing, we already knew you weren’t a singer!’”
Franklin, who has final approval over who plays her in the film, does have a backup plan. If Berry doesn’t work out, she would also consider two former American Idol hopefuls: Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia Barrino. She has also said she would like actors Denzel Washington and Terence Howard to appear in the biopic in some way, reports the Daily Mail.
The film’s script is based on Franklin’s 1999 autobiography. In the book, Franklin writes about her life as the daughter of famed minister C.L. Franklin, giving birth to her oldest son when she was just 13 and her relationships with backup singers like Chaka Kahn and Whitney Houston.
Franklin, who sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at President Obama’s inauguration, also briefly chimed in about politics during the interview. She told the Canadian publication that Obama “has been doing the very best that he can … everything that can be done with what was left when he came into office. You see, the country was having problems long before he got there.”