Singer Fantasia Barrino, the winner of the third season of 'American Idol' and star of her own VH1 reality-show star, has been tapped to play gospel music legend Mahalia Jackson in a biopic.
The feature film will be based on the 1993 book 'Got to Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel,' which recounts the life of the late American gospel singer, a civil rights activist who was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project will be directed by Euzhan Palcy ('A Dry White Season') from a script by Jim Evering. She will portray Jackson on her journey from abject poverty in New Orleans to her rise as a global figure in gospel and early supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr. The singer died in 1972 at the age of 60.
Since winning on 'American Idol,' the North Carolina native has released three albums, with multiple Grammy Award nominations. She's up a for Grammy this weekend for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for her song, 'Bittersweet,' which appears on her last album, 'Back To Me.'
As an actress, the 26-year-old performer starred as herself in the 2006 Lifetime biopic 'Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story,' which was based on her 2005 memoir. She also won rave reviews for her performances as Celie in the Broadway musical 'The Color Purple.'
Before she died of heart failure and diabetes complications, Jackson was considered one of the most influential gospel singers in the world, and was heralded internationally as a singer and civil rights activist; entertainer Harry Belafonte called her "the single most powerful black woman in the United States."
The film goes is set to go into production in April in Pittsburgh and Chicago for a December release.