EXCLUSIVE: Charles S. Dutton and Mike Epps will co-star in Bessie, HBO’s film about Bessie Smith, with Queen Latifah playing the iconic blues singer. Also cast in the movie, written and directed by Dee Rees, is Tika Sumpter. Vased on the life story of Smith, the project chronicles how Smith overcame her tempestuous personal life to become one of the most acclaimed performing and recording artists of the 1920s and ’30s, earning the nickname Empress of the Blues. Dutton will play William “Pa” Rainey, husband and partner to Ma Rainey (Mo’Nique). Charles, repped by Greene & Assoc. and Lighthouse Entertainment, was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Levee Greene in the Broadway production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom written by August Wilson. Epps plays Richard Morgan, bootlegger and romantic interest to Bessie Smith. Sumpter plays Lucille, a chorus girl in Bessie’s troupe. Epps, repped by CAA, Industry Entertainment and attorney Todd Rubenstein., is shooting the Starz series Survivor’s Remorse, just wrapped the Universal feature Term Life and is on a national Live Nation tour with his stand up show Mike Epps: After Dark.
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