In totally stupid things people do news, on Thursday August 16, an argument about the casting of Aretha Franklin‘s biopic led to a shooting in Suffolk, Virginia. The disagreement, which happened between two men outside a barbershop, concerned whether Halle Berry should hold the lead role in the upcoming production.
The fight then reportedly spilled onto the street and turned physical. The confrontation led to 44-year-old Michael Jermell Hatton pulling a gun and shooting the other man, Tony Jonathan Lundy, 47. The victim was found in a critical condition. WKTR-TV reports witnesses in another business heard someone say “No, no no” before hearing at least four gunshots.
Both men were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. WTKR reports the gunshot victim’s brother said that he was in serious condition.
The pair was arguing about who should embody the Queen of Soul in her biopic Aretha: From These Roots. Jennifer Hudson had already been confirmed as the lead earlier this year. Still, Halle Berry had been in the running according to Aretha Franklin herself. The legend had written a letter to The Wendy Williams Show commenting on the possible casting of Berry.
“She was my first choice. Everything’s subject to negotiation, and she shouldn’t underestimate her own talent. There are a number of other leading ladies out there that can definitely handle the role. I never expected Halle to sing. She’s an actress, not a singer. Many actors have portrayed vocalists by lip-synching to the artists’ original recordings.”
In the end, however, Aretha was adamant about Jennifer Hudson’s casting. As we all know, Franklin passed away on August 16 at the age of 76.
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