Queen Latifah, Star of New Gospel Film, Leans on the Bible

Queen Latifah, who’s starring in an upcoming movie about a struggling gospel choir, says the Bible gives her balance.

The female rapper turned actress and CoverGirl makeup spokeswoman, expressed excitement for her lasting film career in a USA Today interview and credited the Bible for keeping her balanced between projects.

She told the news publication she has two traveling necessities – her iPod and her Bible.

"Whenever I'm traveling I never leave home without my Bible," she said. "I take my Bible everywhere I go because sometimes I need that word to calm my mind [and] my spirit."

"Music and the Word, and I'm good to go," she summed.

Ironically, Latifah's upcoming movie, “Joyful Noise,” will incorporate those two things. The inspirational movie scheduled for release in January 2012 will portray Latifah as the mother of a couple of teenagers who takes the reins of the Pacashau Gospel Choir after the choir leader dies.

Latifah has been cast alongside another singer, Dolly Parton. Parton, who starred in movies such as “Steel Magnolias” and “Nine to Five” in the 80s, will play the late choir director's wife who is also gunning for the chance to helm the singing group.

Writer/director Todd Graff, the writer of the musical comedy "Camp," is the man behind the script. Under his direction, “Joyful Noise” will be a gospel musical centered on the rivalry between Parton's and Latifah's characters.

Parton’s character, the widow, assumes she's going to be left in charge of the struggling choir, but Latifah's strong-willed character has already taken on the job. The two eventually learn to work together and an unlikely friendship forms. The pair goes on to the help the choir make musical magic on stage and eventually win a major competition.

In the process, Parton and Latifah will reportedly sing together in the film. Acclaimed gospel artist Kirk Franklin will also be featured in the film leading a new song made for the movie, reports Latifah's fan site.

The theme of the movie will reportedly be about having faith through hard times.

Latifah, whose online profiles reveal her as a Baptist, spoke about overcoming hardships through faith in a Tuesday commencement address at Delaware State University.

"I want to commend you first of all for staying focused, for staying clear-minded, for staying determined enough to make it to this day," she began. Latifah then urged students not to get distracted by alcohol and drugs, but to keep a focus on God instead.

Queen Latifah transformed herself from Dana Elaine Owens with her 1989 rap album, All Hail the Queen. She was 17 at the time.

Now 41, Latifah is a Golden Globe winner and an Oscar nominee for the 2002 star-studded musical “Chicago.” She debuted on the screen in 1991 in the Spike Lee film “Jungle Fever.” Since then, her film career has taken off. Latifah has also appeared in movies such as "Beauty Shop,” “Bringing Down the House” and most recently “The Dilemma.”

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