While there have been a few hit and misses with the Lifetime Movie biopics, namely the disaster of the casting and writing for the Aaliyah movie, but the rave reviews of the Whitney Houston biography starring Yaya Decosta, as a fan I am most certainly looking forward to the upcoming Toni Braxton biopic.
There have been reports that the Grammy award winning megastar is ready to portray herself, however I feel to truly get the most out of this movie we need to allow this story to have its due diligence by having the lead role portrayed by a seasoned actress who can physically embody the evolution of from Toni's humble beginnings in Severn, Maryland to modern day.
Serving as the executive producer, Ms. Braxton will be no stranger to the casting process, final review of the script and the production but does portraying yourself in your own biography truly tells your story in the best way? Well, a popular Lifetime movie fan favorite was the Fantasia Barrino story, with the singer portraying herself. In this instance it worked, but it's good to note that Barrino was telling only the prior 5 years of her life. Her biography was told for the specific chronicling of her compelling rise to stardom within a few years, so it was fitting that she played herself. But the Toni Braxton story is far more complex.
In order for audiences to understand the woman and artist that Toni Braxton is now, you have to go back at least 30 years into her childhood, teen years and young womanhood. In order to do that, we need an actress who can morph from a teenager to young adult seamlessly and who better than the fresh faced Keke Palmer who can still pull off a mature sensuality that Ms. Braxton is known for. Keke definitely has the acting chops, her believability was proven playing Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas in CraxySexyCool: The TLC Story and she is no stranger to the Lifetime movie family playing the dramatic role of Carlina White in Abducted: The Carlina White story. My vote is for Keke or another suitable actress to take on the lead role, though Toni herself is a capable actress also starring in several movie roles, including a recent Lifetime movie.
Time will only tell the final decision but I'm still with my gut on this one, let a trained actress do this Toni, you will be there along the way to coach her to success much like Tina Turner did for Angela Basset's Oscar nominated performance in the biography, "What's Love Got to Do With It?" which was an impressive victory because the actresses does not resemble the singer but was able to copy her mannerisms and convey the story theatrically. I project the same could happen with Palmer or another gifted actress.
[Photos used without permission of the copyright holders @kekepalmer via Instagram and screen cap from the "I Don't Want To" video released by Arista records. No copyright infringement intended, used for editorial and informational purposes only. If said copyright holders wish for these images to be removed please contact this blog owner immediately.]