Charles S. Dutton, Tika Sumpter, Mike Epps Join Bessie Smith Film
By Wilson Morales
Charles S. Dutton, Tika Sumpter, and Mike Epps have joined the cast of ‘Bessie,’ HBO’s film about Bessie Smith, with Queen Latifah starring as the iconic blues singer.
Directed by Dee Rees, the film will be based 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 (played by Oscar winner Mo’Nique). Epps plays Richard Morgan, bootlegger and romantic interest to Bessie Smith, while Sumpter plays Lucille, a chorus girl in Bessie’s troupe.
Coincidentally, Charles 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.
Sumpter is starring as Candace Young in the OWN drama series The Haves and the Have Nots. She was recently seen opposite Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in the hit film Ride Along and will next be seen in the James Brown biopic Get On Up.
Epps, last seen in the indie film Repentance, is shooting the Starz series Survivor’s Remorse, and just wrapped the Universal feature Term Life. His next film is the comedy School Dance, directed by Nick Cannon.