This Day in Film: "What's Love Got to Do with It"

This Day in Film: "What's Love Got to Do with It"

The movie on the legendary rock icon opened 18 years ago today

Published June 9, 2011


18 years ago today, one of the greatest biopics ever made, What's Love Got to Do With It, hit theaters. Based on the book I, Tina written by Tina Turner and Kurt Loder. The Brian Gibson-directed film chronicled the life of Tina Turner as a young girl in Nutbush, Tennessee to a rock and roll icon.


Every major actresses in Hollywood wanted to play Tina, including Halle Berry, Robin Givens, Pam Grier, Vanessa L. Williams and Janet JacksonWhitney Houston, who was just coming off the success of The Bodyguard, was offered the role and accepted. However, due to illness she was forced to bail.  Then after getting a blessing from Tina Turner herself, Angela Bassett was chosen. Clearly, no one could've played Turner but Bassett.


Up until that point, Laurence Fishburne turned down the role of Turner's husband, Ike Turner, five times.  After hearing Bassett signed on, he agreed to tackle the controversial character. Ike Turner often said that the film ruined his career and denied the dosmetic abuse. 

What's Love Got to Do With it
was a monstrous success, mainly due to Bassett's emotional and transformative performance.  Furthermore, Turner's story riveted women across the world.  She suffered horrorific abuse by the hands of Ike Turner, thought her career was over and didn't have her "comeback" until her forties, which is unhead of. Tina Turner is a survivor and her story inspired many. 

Bassett would go onto to win a Golden Globe and Laurence Fishburnce would receive an Oscar nod. Bassett also got a Oscar nod for best actress, and in one of the biggest upsets in Academy Award history, she lost to Holly Hunter inThe Piano

What's Love Got to Do With it is a classic. At 71 years-old, Tina Turner is still one of the greatest performers alive. 


Check out the clip below of Bassett killing it as Tina "Anna Mae Bullock" Turner doing "Proud Mary."

Side note: Don't you miss the days when actors played performers in biopics and lipsynched their songs?  Today, singers land roles in biopics and insist on remaking songs that should never be touched.

Written by Clay Cane


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