Over the past decade, Teyana Taylor has become known for much more than just her music. The Harlem-bred creative has appeared on screen in movies including the recent Coming 2 America as well as behind the camera as her director alter ego Spike Tey.
Teyana Taylor is playing Dionne Warwick in a new Netflix biopic series
Taylor’s latest project is set to be her biggest creative endeavor yet: playing the legendary R&B singer Dionne Warwick in a series about her life.
The idea came from a video Warwick posted on Twitter. “I really gotta know this: if I did a series, would you guys really watch?” the “Heartbreaker” singer said, adding, “Please don’t ask who I would cast to play me as it would obviously be Teyana Taylor.”
Taylor told Showbiz Cheatsheet that she couldn’t believe what she saw. She’d been told in the past that she resembles a young Warwick but never thought she could play the music icon — even after Warwick herself declared that’s what she wanted.
“I definitely still thought it was just a Twitter thing,” Taylor admitted. But “the very next day” her team received an email from Warwick’s saying that “Miss Dionne” wanted to speak with her.
Teyana Taylor is working directly with Dionne Warwick on the project
It’s no surprise that Warwick wanted to have a hand in the story of her life being told on screen. It’s rare that people are still alive to see biopics made about them, and Warwick has been at Taylor’s side with every decision she’s made. “She gave me the freedom and the range to really do my thing,” she said thankfully.
“We got on the Zoom call, and I ain’t gon’ front, I was nervous,” Taylor recalled. “I didn’t even know what to say.” It was a productive introduction and Warwick showed Taylor the spirit that she needed to capture on screen. “She’s so beautiful, she’s so grateful, and she’s sassy too!” Taylor said. “She knows what she wants, and I love that.”
Teyana Taylor likened herself to Angela Bassett
Clearly the project is a dream come true for Taylor, made even better by her getting to spend time working with Warwick herself to ensure the finished product turns out perfect. She compared the whole experience to the making of the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It, when rock ‘n’ roll superstar Tina Turner spent one-on-one time with young actor Angela Bassett to help get every detail of her persona and her story down.
“I’m just happy that I get to tell her story,” she said honestly. “It’s very rare that the actors get to spend time with the person that they’re portraying because the person that they’re portraying is already gone. So this, to me, is going to be like a Tina Turner and Angela Bassett moment where Angela really could spend time with Tina and really embrace everything, the movements, the sound. That’s what I live for.”