LeToya Luckett will play Dionne Warwick in “Dionne,” a new biopic about the legendary singer that was announced at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday morning.
Danny Glover will portray Warwick’s father, Mansel Warwick. Olympia Dukakis will co-star as German songstress and actress Marlene Dietrich, who mentored Warwick. The film will span the early days of Warwick’s career from 1962 to 1968, as she belted out would-be classics like “Alfie” and “I Say a Little Prayer.”
Warwick, 75, said she was pleased that Luckett (an original member of Destiny’s Child) was channeling her on the big screen. “She just kind of morphed,” Warwick said of meeting the actress. “Vocally, she was right. Her look was completely right.”
Shooting is set to begin in October, with Mario Van Peebles in talks to direct. AMBI Pictures and David F. Wooley’s WW Film Company are financing the movie. Producers are Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi, Wooley and Jacker Binder.
Wooley revealed that he’s already spent 10 years getting the story to the big screen. After early scripts stalled, he realized that he needed a book to adapt the movie from, and co-authored “My Life, As I See It: An Autobiography” with Warwick. Then the movie was back on track, with Randall Jahnson (“The Doors”) writing the latest screenplay with Wooley.
In 2013, Warwick made headlines when she declared bankruptcy with $10 million in tax debt. When asked if the project would help with her finances, Warwick declined to comment.
For those of you in New York City, here’s a film festival event to add to your November calendar… full details below:
The African-American Women in Cinema announced the full line-up of this year’s 17th Annual African-American Women in Cinema Film Festival (November 19th – 22nd), which features an opening night premiere and reception, keynote panels, additional premiere screenings, a youth filmmaking event, and a short films program. The films chosen for this year’s festival are judged by a jury committee made up of prominent industry leaders, who adhere to the organization’s mission statement of promoting films from African American, Latina, Native American and the Asian diaspora. AAWIC is the only film festival in New York City with such a wide multicultural reach.
The Opening Night selection is the New York premiere of director Princess Monique’s “Seasons of Love.” Starring Gladys Knight, Taraji P. Henson, Method Man and LeToya Luckett, the film follows one couple’s romantic ups and downs, as they struggle to determine the things that matter most in life. The film also features Ana Isabella, a rising star from Puerto Rico. The film is a Lifetime Studios production and will premiere on Lifetime on November 23rd.
AAWIC is also pleased to announce the premiere event entitled INTERNATIONAL DAY presented by UNESCO NYS and African Women For Good Governance on November 22nd. There will be a panel discussion called Discussing the African Film Industry moderated by Winsome Sinclair (prominent casting director). Following the discussion there will be a special presentation organized by African Women For Good Governance and later a film screening hosted by producer Mohamed Dione.
The festival will close with an awards VIP reception that will take place at the United Nations and the Nigerian Embassy, respectively. The President of African Women For Good Governance and Ambassador of UNESCO, Sire Dione Conde, expressed her excitement for the festival, stating, “We are pleased to be a part of such a prestigious festival that celebrates women in the industry and are very happy to present the first ever International Day! We look forward to making history together.”