bessieRachel Portman has been tapped to score the upcoming HBO original movie Bessie. The film is directed by Dee Rees (Pariah) and stars Queen Latifah, Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Tika Sumpter, Tory Kittles, Oliver Platt, Bryan Greenberg, Charles S. Dutton and Mo’Nique. The movie tells the story of legendary blues singer Bessie Smith and her transformation from a struggling young singer into “The Empress of the Blues,” one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s and an enduring icon today. Rees has also written the screenplay with Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois (McFarland, USA, Glory Road) based on a story by herself and Horton Foote (To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men). Latifah is also executive producing the project with Shakim Compere (Beauty Shop, Just Wright), Lili Fini Zanuck (Driving Miss Daisy, Cocoon), Richard D. Zanuck (Jaws, Alice in Wonderland), Shelby Stone (Lackawanna Blues) and Randi Michel. Bessie is set to premiere on May 16, 2015 on HBO. For updates on the drama, visit the official movie website.

As previously reported, Portman’s upcoming projects also include the thriller Before the Falling Snow.

  1. FM says:

    a bit of an old news since the score was recorded 2 months ago.

    • Justin Boggan says:

      I find out kind of odd, if not telling, that about half the scoring assignments these days are reporteds after they are recorded (not counting any pick ups). I think it’s a case where they aren’t sure of their composer or the studios isnt’ sure of the composer’s effort and they are playing a game of wait and record and see if the score has to be replaced.

  2. Am Bessie Smith fan. My grandfather, Bob Effros performed trumpet and composed a song she recorded. Am looking for soundtrack list for film. Am preparing blog and an article in advance of the release.

    Recently one of his songs was licensed for a film from ASCAP – appreciate knowing if possibly made it into Queen Latifah’s film “Bessie”
    Thank you
    Barbara Effros, Manager of Bob Effros Music