Fantasia Barrino nabs lead role in Mahalia Jackson biopic
Fantasia Barrino is heading to the big screen.
The former "American Idol" champion recently nabbed the lead role in a biopic about the life of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. The film will be based on Jackson's 1993 book "Got to Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Jackson, a civil rights activist born in 1911, was an early supporter of Martin Luther King Jr. and died in 1972. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Barrino's spokesperson said the singer has been told to gain 30 to 45 pounds for the role.
Barrino has acted before in a 2006 Lifetime television biopic called "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story," about her life based off her 2005 autobiography. In the book she revealed she is functionally illiterate and had been in an abusive relationship with the father of her daughter Zion Quari Barrino, to whom she gave birth at the age of 16. The book went on to become a New York Times bestseller.
The singer also starred on Broadway in the musical version of "The Color Purple" as Celie.
Last year, she revealed she attempted suicide in August by trying to overdose on sleep medication and aspirin. She said her "American Idol" experience and a relationship with a married man were among the factors that drove her to try and take her own life.
"I think I was just overloaded with everything, with carrying six years of so much," Barrino, 26, said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on August 24 in what marked her first television appearance since the incident.
"I always take a licking and keep on ticking," she said. "It just became heavy for me to the point that I just wanted to be away from the noise. The first little piece of drama that they can find, it blew up so much and I just began to get tired of taking so many licks."
On August 9, police received a 911 call that said Barrino was "slowly losing consciousness" and that her family had placed her in a shower to "keep her awake." The singer was taken to a hospital and the incident was classified as a suicide attempt. Barrino was released about two days later.
Prior to her overdose, Paula Cook, a North Carolina woman, claimed in court papers that Barrino had an affair with her husband Antwaun Cook in August 2009 and that it had spurred the couple's divorce. Barrino has said that the man had told her he was separated and said on "Good Morning America" that the scandal also contributed to her decision to end her life.
Barrino won American Idol in 2004 and has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards.