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Fantasia Lands Lead in Mahalia Jackson Biopic

It will be the first feature-film lead role for the Grammy-nominated star of 'The Color Purple.'

Fantasia Barrino
Angela Weiss/Getty Images

American Idol alum and erstwhile VH1 reality-show star Fantasia Barrino has added another line to her resume today.

The Season 3 winner is slated to appear in a feature-film adaptation of the 1993 book Got to Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel, which recounts the life of the late American gospel singer, a civil rights activist who was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The CAA-repped Barrino, whose biggest post-Idol gig to date was playing Celie in the Broadway version of The Color Purple, will portray Jackson on her journey from abject poverty in New Orleans to her rise as a global figure in gospel and early supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr. The singer died in 1972 at the age of 60.

The 26-year-old performer also played herself in the 2006 Lifetime biopic Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, which was based on her 2005 autobiography.

The film will be directed by Euzhan Palcy (A Dry White Season) from a script by Jim Evering, and goes into production April in Pittsburgh and Chicago for a December release.