Mary J. Blige has landed the starring role in a biopic of Nina Simone, a major step up for the R&B queen in the film world.
Variety magazine reports 'Nina' focuses on the legendary jazz and soul singer's relationship later in life with manager Clifton Henderson, who died in 2006. He is set to be played by British actor David Oyelowo, perhaps best known for his role in the BBC drama 'Small Island.'
Simone was a famously troubled, thin-skinned character, though her erratic behaviour was later diagnosed as due to a multiple personality disorder.
Previously, Blige's work in front of camera -- apart from music promos -- has focused on cameos in TV shows. She appeared as herself in the comedy '30 Rock' and had a role in one episode of supernatural drama 'Ghost Whisperer.' Previously, she was the mother of a character played by Q-Tip in the ill-starred 2001 movie 'Prison Song,' even though they are the same age.
'Nina' is to be filmed this autumn in France, where Simone died in 2003. It is financed by the UK's Ealing Studios to the tune of $10 million (£6.8 million). The script has been written by Cynthia Mort, previously known for stints as writer-producer on the sitcoms 'Roseanne' and 'Will and Grace.'