Diana Ross may be the better known member of the Supremes, but Spirit of Life Films is working on making sure founding member Florence Ballard’s legacy is not lost in the girl group’s history.
In conjunction with “Blondie” Ballard’s family, the company is tackling “Blondie – The Florence Ballard Story,” to be released in Summer 2011 with R&B singer Faith Evans as lead.
The film is based on the book “The Lost Supreme” by Peter Benjaminson, with the script penned by Karen Spencer and Roy Fegan. Bille Woodruff (“Bring It On,” “Beauty Shop”) will direct.
Ballard was one of the original singers and leads in The Supremes when they started out in Detroit around 1960. Later, Ross was added to the lineup and eventually took over as the frontwoman of the group, and Ballard’s relationships and commitment in the group became tumultuous; she left in 1967, pursued a solo career, endured a messy marriage and died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 32.
Ballard’s three daughters -- Michelle, Nicole and Lisa – “gave preference in having singer Faith Evans portray their mother,” according to a release. “In addition to her striking resemblance, Faith Evans has had similar life success, challenges and has the natural vocal talent.”
The soundtrack to film will feature a number of remakes and originals of Supremes and Ballard songs, as well as artist originals. According to a “Blondie” spokesperson, Faith Evans “is handling much of the A&R” for the set herself, with the final tracklist still under development; Evans is working with Lauryn Hill – whose new music output has been near nil over the last ten years – to complete a “new composition” for the set.
After five years as a columnist and editor at Billboard, Katie Hasty joined HitFix in 2009 for music and film reporting out of New York. The Midwest native has worked as a writer, music promoter and in A&R since 1999 and performs with her band Numbers And Letters.