Angela Basset

Source: Kevin Kane / Getty

Mega actress Angela Bassett is having quite the awards show season. She scored a Golden Globe for performance as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and is heading to the film’s biggest honor The Academy Awards in the Best Supporting Actress category.

But many people will tell you the star was snubbed nearly 30 years ago for Best Actress in 1994’s What’s Love Got to Do with It, a biopic on rock legend Tina Turner.

It’s a story about the singer’s road to solo stardom and self-love battling against an abusive relationship and tumultuous times with Ike Turner. In the film, Angela was coached by Tina Turner hands on for some of the biggest scenes. The actress adorned critical acclaim and continues to be a fan favorite as the years go by.

So for the star to truly be in what appears to be a winning season, Bassett couldn’t help but reflect on one of her career’s biggest roles to date while accepting an award at the 2023 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

“Those concert scenes, literally you feel like you have a sweater in your throat after performing, and we would do it [again] from top to bottom,” Bassett said before accepting the 2023 SBIFF Montecito Award.

Facing the music performance was grueling, but the actress revealed to moderator Roger Durling, SBIFF’s executive director, that filming a sex assault scene with Laurence Fishbourne was most concerning. The incident took place in the Turner’s home recording booth.

“We would do the rape scene. And, as I said, we were doing things over and over, and it’s such a debasing sort of feeling. And so, Laurence would say, ‘Angela, how many times do you want to do this,” Bassett said. “I’ll do it till we get it.”

The gut-wrenching scene was a difficult talk for both stars, who relied on each other to talk about navigating the on-screen performance.

“We’re going to go for it. I’m going to scrape and claw like my life depends on it. And it does. And that’s what you capture. He’s going like he’s grabbing; I’m going like I’m dying,” Bassett said.

During the interview Bassett revealed that filming the movie had its run and gun moments as the script changed throughout the process, leaving her to find her own creativity to stay true to Tina Turner’s portrayal.

“A lot of it was improvised, but I think it made it better,” she said.


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