Angela Bassett is starring in the new holiday film “Black Nativity” and she recently dished on the small fib she told to land the role in the musical.
The cast of “Black Nativity” was selected not only for their acting skills, but also for their powerful vocals – or so the crew thought.
While Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Jacob Latimore have already proven their musical skills in their own careers, Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker are entering new territory with this film. Even more surprising, Angela may not have the vocal skills that the casting crew assumed she had.
“I told a little fib,” Bassett told reporter Jennifer H. Cunningham. “Yes, I can sing – you didn’t ask how well!”
Bassett has taken on musical roles before, but she never had to lend her own vocals to the part.
“I’ve never had to sing before – stage or screen,” she admitted. “I’ve always had to lip-sync.”
Bassett earned an Academy Award for her role as singer Tina Turner in the 1993 film: “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” where she was lip-syncing for all the musical moments.
It hasn’t been confirmed whether Angela had to lip-sync for this role yet again or if she discovered she had some pretty good vocal skills herself. Either way, the veteran actress decided she simply had to snag the role and it’s easy to see why.
Bassett grew up in Harlem, which is where the story takes place.
During her interview, she dished on all the childhood memories that Harlem sparked for her during filming.
“You’d find the house parties where the ladies sold cooked food,” she said. “You had to find the right brownstone to go to, to get a home-cooked meal for, like, four bucks. You’d eat good.”
While she may be shopping in luxury boutiques these days, she enjoyed remembering a time where she would casually stroll up and down the street in search of incense and oils.
“Going up and down 125th Street you’d get your Egyptian musk, your incense or oil,” she said.
Remembering her past in Harlem, however, also made her appreciative of the city’s future and major progress.
“It went into a decline and there was a lot of wasted potential during the drug period,” she said. “But now there’s this resurgence. People discovering the beauty of the area. It’s on the up and up. It’s a destination now.”
Whitaker revealed that although he had studied opera at the University of Southern California, he never had to tap into those skills for any movie roles.
He made it clear, however, that he certainly had the talent to take on a lead role in the musical film.
When he belted out a few notes on the talk show, Michael Strahan couldn’t help but toss his hands in the air and start dancing around.
Unfortunately, A-list celebrities and powerhouse vocalists might not be enough to rescue this film at the box office.
Despite its release during the holiday season, usually an easy boost for ticket sales, the movie is under-performing and critics aren’t impressed with it either.
“Black Nativity” earned only two out of five stars from the New York Daily News and 3.7 out of 10 stars from IMDb.