Today in film history, June 11, 1993, “What’s Love Got to Do with It” opened in US theaters. It’s initial opening was in limited release on June 11 before expanding nationwide 2 weeks later, on June 25.
Directed by Brian Gibson and loosely based on the life of Tina Turner, the biopic stars Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence Fishburne as Ike Turner. The screenplay was adapted by Kate Lanier from the book “I, Tina” written by Tina Turner and Kurt Loder.
Released by Touchstone Pictures, a division of Disney, the film grossed almost $40 million domestically. It did see some overseas action, although not much. It wasn’t a huge commercial success, although it did well enough, relative to budget.
It was a critical smash with a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and earned both Bassett, and Fishburne Oscar nominations (although neither won). It represents the only time that both actors have been nominated for Oscars, which is unfortunate; woefully under-used talent.
Playing Tina Turner was a much sought after role; along with Angela Bassett who eventually got the part, Halle Berry, Robin Givens, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Vanessa L. Williams and other were all considered for the role.
And with that, on account of today’s celebration of the film’s 24th birthday, I thought I’d dig up some related trivia; Yes, I’m sure some of you likely already know all of this, but for those who didn’t know before today, now you do.
And now for 8 more interesting “Did You Knows…” about the film, “What’s Love Got to Do with It”:
– Turner herself refused to be fully involved in the making of the film, saying publicly, “Why would I want to see Ike Turner beat me up again? I haven’t dwelt on it; it’s all in the past where it belongs.” Although she did help Angela Bassett with her transformation into Tina Turner.
– Laurence Fishburne turned down the role of Ike Turner several times; and it was only until he learned that Angela Bassett was going to play Tina Turner, that he changed his mind.
– The late Charlie Murphy reportedly also auditioned for the role of Ike Turner.
– Jenifer Lewis originally auditioned to play Tina Turner, but ended up playing Tina’s mother in the film, even though she’s only two years older than Angela Bassett, who played Tina.
– Angela Bassett was injured while filming the first spousal abuse sequence. She is said to have fallen off the back of a sofa, put her hands out to reduce the impact, and suffered a fracture on her right hand. Needless to say, she only did that stunt fall once.
– Vanessa Bell Calloway, who plays Jackie, the friend and former Ikette who shares Buddhism with Tina, was wary of chanting Buddhist words because of her strong Christian faith. Director Brian Gibson is said to have instead instructed her to mouth the words silently during taping, and then he added the words with a voice double in post-production.
– While Angela Bassett didn’t actually sing Tina Turner’s songs, Laurence Fishburne sang Ike Turner’s parts.
– Ike Turner said that certain scenes of abuse depicted in the film didn’t happen, as revealed in his own autobiography “Taking Back My Name.” Specifically, the scene where he beats and rapes Tina in their home studio, and the scene where he confronts her backstage with a handgun. But as noted earlier, the film is loosely based on Tina Turner’s autobiography, meaning certain parts of it (several actually) were “fictionalized for dramatic purposes.”
Here’s a trailer for “What’s Love Got to Do with It” as a reminder: