Fantasia Barrino’s personal life could cost her a job playing Mahalia Jackson in the gospel singer’s biopic.
There’s word that the estate of Mahalia Jackson is not happy with Fantasia because she’s gotten pregnant by a married man, Antwaun Cook.
“The family thinks if Fantasia plays the role, it’s going to sully the name of Mahalia,” executive producer Adrian Taylor told the New York Post. “They think she’s got the wrong image, having a child out of wedlock.”
Reportedly, producers for Mahalia! also have a bone to pick with Fannie, as she neglected to inform them of her pregnancy until she was four months along.
“She [initially] claimed that she was putting on weight for the role,” a source close to the film said. When speculation of Fantasia’s pregnancy first arose, the singer’s camp denied the rumors by saying she was packing on pounds for the film. Now it seems the studio was fed the same line.
The development means that production has been pushed back, a delay that has caused the budget to swell from $23 million to $27 million. It has also created a scheduling nightmare for producers. With the film on hold until after Fantasia’s December 27 due date, Euzhan Palcy may not be able to direct Mahalia! as planned.
Fantasia has asked to start filming in January, but she is trying to renegotiate her contract to allow time for things such as time for breast-feeding and nurturing on the set.
Producers are considering replacements for Fantasia should she not agree to begin filming after New Year’s. Missy Elliott’s name has been tossed around as a possible option.
A spokesperson for Mahalia’s estate had little to say about the production troubles or Fantasia’s impending arrival. “I’m not really aware of any objections that the heirs have to the casting of Fantasia," the spokesperson commented. "I understand that they were getting ready to film and that she is pregnant, and I don’t know who is she pregnant by.”
Fantasia’s rep had even less to say, stating, “This is the first time I’ve heard about this. I have no comment.”