I had the chance to check out the Unsung episode on Tammi Terrell’s life, and to say that it was sad would be an understatement. Terrell, known for her famous duets with Marvin Gaye, only lived to be 24, dying of a brain tumor. And the years she lived in the spotlight were tumultuous ones that included abusive relationships with James Brown and David Ruffin of The Temptations. She came and went from this world so quickly that her talents weren’t fully appreciated and recognized until after she was long gone.
So that may be the reason there is a biopic coming out to tell Terrell’s story. According to Deadline, the film will follow Terrell’s career from her beginnings as a backup singer for James Brown and Patti LaBelle, to her solo career. It will also cover the success she obtained singing alongside Marvin Gaye, creating Motown favorites like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing.” The film will also touch on her brain tumor diagnosis and her death in 1970. And despite rumors in the past of Terrell being portrayed by Taraji P. Henson (such rumblings began as Get On Up was preparing for filming), the vocalist will be played by actress and singer Kat Graham. She is known for her work on the hit show The Vampire Diaries, the film of Addicted and Honey 2. Graham is beyond excited about the chance to play the legendary singer:
“I immediately connected to Tammi and her story in many ways and have felt the incredible need to tell it. Tammi Terrell defined passion and soul itself…Getting lost in the music enabled her to override life’s punishments — for when she sang, she could use the hurt to create greatness and give the world hope that maybe they could overcome their pain as well.”
Shooting and release are slated for next year. The feature film is being written by Maryam Myika Day, and will be produced by Robert Teitel, Rose Ganguzza, and Hilary Shor. Graham’s own Panthera Productions will also be behind production for the biopic.
So what do you think? Does Graham bear a resemblance to Terrell?