R&B singer Fantasia Barrino’s pregnancy out of wedlock could cost her the role of legendary gospel vocalist Mahalia Jackson in an upcoming biopic Mahalia!
According to the New York Post, members of Jackson’s estate voiced their disapproval of the American Idol’s unwed pregnancy. The father is said to be boyfriend Antwaun Cook who is married-but not to Barrino.
Producers of the film are also angry with the singer for not informing them about her state until she was four months pregnant. Reportedly, the singer told them she was putting on weight for the role. As a result of Barrino’s pregnancy, filming has been pushed back to Dec. 27, after the baby is due to be delivered.
“The family thinks if Fantasia plays the role, it’s going to sully the name of Mahalia,” executive producer Adrian Taylor told the New York Post. “They think she’s got the wrong image, having a child out of wedlock.”
Despite Taylor’s comments, a spokesman for the Jackson family told the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper that he was unaware of any objections to Barrino playing the gospel legend.
Still, producers are doubtful that they will reach their planned 2012 release date.
If thing’s don’t work out, Barrino could be replaced by rapper Missy Elliott. If Elliott comes aboard, the film’s budget could increase from $23 million to $27 million.
Shortly after the New York Post’s report, Barrino called into the “Wendy Williams Show” and said that she had been approached for the film, but it was stalled because its investors backed out of the project.
“There were no contracts signed and there was no set date and time, so when this came out, I jumped out of my bed…and I was a little pissed off because I wanted to make the family proud and most of all I wanted to make Mahalia Jackson proud,” Barrino said on the show.
The biopic will be based on the 1993 book “Go Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel,” which details the singer’s ascent from her deprived New Orleans upbringing to her status as a gospel legend. The book also details her involvement in the civil rights movement and her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.