*Charles S. Dutton and Mike Epps have come aboard the HBO film “Bessie,” a biopic of the legendary Bessie Smith.
Queen Latifah stars as the iconic blues singer. The film, written and directed by Dee Rees, 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). Epps plays Richard Morgan, bootlegger and romantic interest to Bessie Smith.
Also in the film is Tika Sumpter, who plays Lucille, a chorus girl in Bessie’s troupe.
Epps is currently shooting the LeBron James-produced 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.
Sumpter currently stars on Tyler Perry’s OWN original series “The Haves and the Have Nots.”