meryl-streep-queen-latifah-HBO-films-master-class-bessie.jpgHBO has announced a slew of upcoming movies for its network, headlined by Academy Award winner Meryl Streep being directed by Academy Award winner Mike Michols in a film adaptation of “Master Class,” the Tony Award-winning Broadway play by Terrence McNally about Maria Callas, a world-renowned opera singer who taught master classes at Julliard in the 1970s.

“It is a terrific play written with awareness of a great artist’s process,” says director Nichols, “and it will be one great artist playing another.” Production on the film will begin in early 2015.

Also coming from HBO films is “Bessie,” a documentary about legendary blues singer Bessie Smith. The iconic 1920s singer will be played by Queen Latifah, who was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Matron Mama Morton in the 2002 film adaptation of the musical “Chicago.”

“Bessie” is currently in production in Atlanta and will debut in 2015. It also stars Mike Epps, Khandi Alexander, Michael K. Williams, Tika Sumpter, Bryan Greenberg, Oliver Platt, Charles S. Dutton and Mo’Nique.

Finally, HBO has confirmed its documentary lineup for the latter half of 2014: “The Newburgh Sting,” “Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart,” “A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY,” “Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia” and “Saving My Tomorrow: Kids Care for the Planet.”

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."