Thesps to star in Alcon gospel-choir feature
Todd Graff, who wrote and directed “Bandslam,” will helm “Joyful Noise” from his own screenplay. Graff, a former actor, also wrote and directed teen musical “Camp” and penned “The Beautician and the Beast.” Story centers on an unlikely partnership between two strong-minded women who are forced to work together to save a small town gospel choir after budget cuts threaten to shut them down. Latifah will play a no-nonsense mother put in charge of the choir after the untimely death of the choir director. Her character’s faced with the challenges of raising two teens while her husband is away in the military and getting the choir ready for a national competition if she hopes to keep the program afloat. Parton will play the widow of the choir director who had assumed she would take her late husband’s position of leading the choir. Production will start in January. Latifah was most recently seen opposite Common in “Just Wright” and in “Valentine’s Day.” Parton hasn’t starred in a feature since the 1992′s “Straight Talk” after appearing in “Steel Magnolias,” “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” and “Nine to Five” during the 1980s. Latifah is repped by WME and manager Shakim Compere. Alcon’s films are distribbed through Warner Bros., which opens Alcon’s “Lottery Ticket” this weekend.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more