It has been confirmed that Jill Scott will play the role of gospel icon Mahalia Jackson in an upcoming biopic film.
The film, based on the biography Mahalia Jackson by Darlene Donloe, will be produced by Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx, Shakim Compere, and Holly Carter.
“This is such an incredibly important story to tell and we’re thrilled to work with Jamie on the project,” Latifah said in a statement about 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.”
As Deadline reports, the adapted screenplay has been written by Richard Hocutt, Mark Gould and Tricia Woodgett. Hocutt and Woodgett will also act as producers on the project.
“I am beyond grateful to be able to partner with Latifah and Shakim again and equally excited that Jamie has joined the team,” Holly Carter commented. “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.”
Mahalia Jackson, often labelled as ‘The Queen of Gospel’, is revered as one of the most influential gospel singers of all time. Having recorded 30 official albums before her death in 1972, Jackson also became a pioneering figure of the civil rights movement and ignored repeated death threats to be in contact with Martin Luther King, Jr, hoping her music would “break down some of the hate and fear that divide the white and black people in this country”.
“I sing God’s music because it makes me feel free”, Jackson said about her music. “It gives me hope. With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues.”