Halle Berry has politely declined Aretha Franklin’s overtures to her to portray her in a proposed biopic, saying that “I can’t sing!” she told E!’s Ryan Seacrest before Sunday’s Golden Globes. “If I could carry a tune, I’d consider it. Someone should tell Aretha that I can’t do her justice.” But Aretha still seems to think that Halle’s the woman for the job: “Many actors have portrayed vocalists by lip-synching to the artist’s original recordings,” Franklin wrote in a letter read on the Wendy Williams show Monday.
Personally, I’d have to side with Berry on this one, but not for the reason she states. She was quite good in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, the TV biopic of the famed singer and actress a decade ago. Lip syncing wasn’t an issue there. Plus, Berry looked very much like Dandridge. But she looks virtually nothing like a younger Aretha Franklin. Back in the ’60s, Franklin very much had an everywoman appeal to her. She wasn’t a genetically gifted bombshell. Of course that didn’t stop her from being the hands down best female soul singer out there. Now an actor doesn’t have to look exactly like the subject he/she is portraying. But it tends to help.
No, I think if Aretha is serious about getting her story on the screen, she needs to be pursuing Jennifer Hudson. That would be much more believable. Hudson has recently slimmed down herself, but she still looks much more like a young Aretha than Berry. Plus Hudson can flat sing her ass off. I’d also think that Jill Scott would be a better contender, if she were to uh, well, slim down just a wee bit. Personally, I always wanted to see Berry portray Tammi Terrell. The right script and director, and that story had Oscar nomination all over it. Oh well. In the meantime, Berry’s got Dark Tide, New Year’s Eve and Shoe Addicts Anonymous in the pipeline.