First Look: Queen Latifah To Star As Blues Icon Bessie Smith In 2015 HBO Film

Pictured: A still of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith; Coming to HBO in 2015

Queen Latifah’s talk show may not be returning to your TV sets, but the talk show host, singer, rapper and actress has an even bigger project to focus on in the new year.

The multi-hyphenate celeb will be making her return to the small screen in 2015 for HBO’s new film BESSIE. In the film—which is executive produced by Latifah, Shakim Compere, Lili Fini Zanuck, Richard D. Zanuck, Shelby Stone, and Randi Michel—Queen will star as the iconic blues singer, Bessie Smith, during her transition from humble beginnings to “The Empress of the Blues.”

BESSIE is directed by filmmaker Dee Rees from a screenplay by Rees, Christopher Cleveland and Bettina Gilois. The film is also rounded out by a star-studded cast including Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Tika Sumpter, Tory Kittles, Oliver Platt, Bryan Greenberg, with Charles S. Dutton and Mo’Nique.

Photo Credit: HBO/Frank Masi