Producer Dave LaCour Simien, whose Los Angeles-based Double Dutch Productions is behind "Mahalia!," said the production has acquired the rights to 18 of Jackson's songs for the film -- all of which have been remastered -- and that Barrino will be lip-synching to those original recordings. It's not a knock on Barrino's voice. Rather, it's an effort to make the film as true-to-life as possible, Simien said. "I really wanted to be authentic," he said. "We wanted to make sure if we do it, we do it right."
"Mahalia!"—which will be based on the 1993 book "Got To Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel," and which has the blessing of the Jackson estate—will recount Jackson's impoverished upbringing in New Orleans and her rise to prominence as an American music icon as well as a civil-rights activist.
"We envision this film as a black woman's 'Coal Miner's Daughter,' a colorful rags-to-riches story of a great talent who achieves enormous success and survives personal tragedy," the film's producers say in a synopsis on their "Mahalia!" web page.
If they're using Mahalia Jackson's incredible vocals, what is the point in casting a singer? If that's the case, Kimberly Elise could have owned this role. Sissy Spacek won the Academy Award for Coal Miner's Daughter—she did her own singing btw—but comparing Fantasia's acting skills to Spacek is a bit much.
Anxious to hear your thoughts. Flame away if you disagree.