Lifetime set to begin production on Wendy Williams biopic

Ciera Payton and Morocco Omari have been cast as the leads in the project that is set to start production this month

Looks like the rumors are true and Lifetime really is moving forward with its Wendy Williams biopic, tentatively titled, Wendy Williams: The Hot Topic.

Thursday, Deadline exclusively confirmed that Ciera Payton (The Oval, She’s Gotta Have It) and Morocco Omari (P-Valley, Empire) have been cast as the leads in the project that is set to start production this month. Payton will star in the title role as Williams with Omari playing her ex-husband, Kevin Hunter.

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The film about the controversial radio star will be executive produced by Will Packer and Sheila Ducksworth, and has tapped Darren Grant (The Chi, God Friended Me) to direct.

When the biopic debuts in 2021, it will be paired along with a feature-length documentary on Williams, who authorized and executive produced the project.

According to the press release, “The authorized project provides a revealing look at Wendy’s journey, from her scrappy upstart days in urban radio to the success of her own syndicated talk show. Despite all the naysayers and obstacles Wendy encountered throughout her life, her strength and determination have allowed her to thrive.”

Deadline also explains, “a feature-length documentary about the self-anointed Queen of all Media will follow the movie. In it, Williams sheds her private persona and speaks directly to the camera from her Manhattan apartment, discussing the joy and the humiliation she has experienced since childhood.”

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Payton, who will be playing the New Jersey native, currently stars as fashion designer Lilly Winthrop on the BET drama series The Oval and also appeared on Netflix’s reboot of Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It.

Omari, who will be playing Hunter – the man who helped his wife become a household name – currently stars as Big L in Starz’s new hit P-Valley, which has been renewed for a second season.

Diehard Williams fans may also remember this isn’t the talk show host’s first foray into biopics. In 2014, she served as a producer of the widely panned but highly rated Lifetime biopic, The Princess of R&B, which was based on the life of late R&B singer Aaliyah.

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