The iconic Lena Horne was honored at last year’s Academy Awards by Oscar winner Halle Berry. As we all know, Lena Horne passed away in May of 2010. Horne’s popularity is still strong. Stormy Weather, the biography written by James Gavin, was a bestseller on Amazon.com, receiving good reviews and praise from Oprah’s gal pal Gayle King.
But where is that biopic? Legendary columnist Liz Smith, stated on Variety.com:
“There is, of course, word whizzing about for a movie. In late 2007, Oprah announced her plan to star Alicia Keys as Lena in a biopic. But we haven’t heard anything on that front since.”
Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1917. At 17 years old she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade and would go on to join several other orchestras and bands. Lena received immense pressure from management and industry insiders (Black and white) to “pass” for white or Hispanic. Horne aggressively refused, and when she finally came to Hollywood she even refused to play a maid.
Lena Horne was considered to play the lead role in 1951’s Showboat, but Ava Gardner was chosen because interracial relationships were banned in films. However, according to Wikipedia, “MGM executives required Gardner to practice her singing using recordings of Horne performing the songs, which offended both actresses.” Ain’t that something?
This is a biopic that we need and I can’t understand why no one is on it, considering biopics are often successful and sometimes Oscar-worthy.
First, Janet Jackson was set to play Lena Horne but allegedly was booted from the project after the infamous “wardrobe malfunction.” The biopic was set to be a made for TV movie on ABC.
Then, as Smith mentioned, Alicia Keys was to play Horne, but all talks of that have vanished.
I want to see the film made but I would love to see an actor tackle the role instead of a singer. Paula Patton, Jurnee Smollett, or even Nicole Ari Parker would be good choices.
Who would you like to see in a Lena Horne biopic?