Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance to produce ‘reimagining’ of ‘The Preacher’s Wife’

Matthew Allen  

Hollywood power couple Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance‘s Bassett Vance Productions (BVP) closed a deal with Anthony Hemingway Productions to film a “reimagining” of the 1996 film The Preacher’s Wife.

Lynnette Ramirez , BVP’s Head of Development, made the announcement on Wednesday with AHP’s VP of Development & Production Whitney Davis, via press release.

The 1996 version of the film starred Vance as Rev. Henry Biggs and the late Whitney Houston as his wife Julia. Biggs is visited by an angel named Dudley, played by two-time Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, who is sent to assist the family and their ailing neighborhood church. It is a remake of the 1947 film The Bishop’s Wife, starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven.

The Preacher’s Wife, directed by the late Penny Marshall, has become a holiday staple since its release.

The film’s soundtrack was certified triple platinum by the RIAA, becoming the biggest selling gospel album of all time, with Houston performing most of the songs.

Hemingway, who will direct the new film (in which Vance is slated to appear), has extensive experience in directing television for series that include Starz’s Power and Power Book II: Ghost; The CW’s Underground and Showtime’s Shameless. His feature film directorial debut is 2012’s Tuskegee Airmen drama Red Tails, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and David Oyelowo.

This will not be the first time that Vance and Hemingway have collaborated on the same project. In 2016, Hemingway produced and directed several episodes of FX’s American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson, in which Vance portrayed the late defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. The series was a success for both men, earning them each a Primetime Emmy. Hemingway won for Outstanding Limited Series and Vance won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series.

The two also worked together this year on National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha, a limited biographical series on the late singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin. With Hemingway directing and Vance playing Aretha’s father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, the series became another success, earning three Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress and Outstanding Sound Mixing in a Limited Series or Anthology Series as well as Outstanding Choreography for a Scripted Program.

“Anthony is one of the most gifted directors I have ever had the privilege to work with. I’ve often said wherever Anthony goes, I follow. That’s how much trust and confidence I have in him as a visionary and storyteller,” said Vance in the release.  “This is a film that I hold close to my heart, and I recognize that countless others feel the same way. That’s why I am thrilled that Anthony and I will be working together to share this uplifting story with a whole new generation.”

In March, it was announced that BVP would be collaborating with MTV to produce a series on the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Award-winning playwright Nathan Alan Davis wrote the scripted limited series.