The Hollywood Reporter
The duo has joined the cast of the female-skewed cable network's TV movie "Betty and Coretta," The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
The telepic, first announced during the network's up-front presentation in May, tells the dual stories of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Betty Shabazz as they carry on as single mothers following the assassinations of their husbands, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
Bassett will play King opposite Mary J. Blige, who co-stars as Shabazz in the project previously known as "Parallel Lives." Dee will appear on-screen as a historical witness to narrate the duo's story as someone familiar with the events of both their lives. "Betty and Coretta" remains a working title for the movie.
Larry Sanitsky, Blige, Jaja Johnson and Polly Anthony are on board to executive produce the project, with Shem Bitterman and Ron Hutchinson attached to pen the project; Yves Simoneau will direct.
The award-winning actress Bassett picked up an Image Award for her turn as Shabazz in the 1992 feature "Malcolm X." Other credits include her Oscar-nominated role as Tina Turner in 1994's "What's Love Got to Do With It" as well as "Green Lantern" and "Akeelah and the Bee." She's repped by Gersh, Lighthouse and Fox Rothschild.
Civil rights activist Dee, meanwhile, is best known for "A Raisin in the Sun" and "Roots," for which she took home an Emmy for her performance. She is repped by Artists Agency.
Production on Betty and Coretta begins in September; an airdate has not yet been determined.