Angela Bassett Recalls How A 12-Year-Old Keke Palmer Actually Got Her The Role As Her Mother In Akeelah And The Bee

Keke Palmer and Angela Bassett have been compared for some time now. From their physical resemblance to Palmer’s spot-on impression of the Oscar-nominated actress, fans can’t help but see some of Bassett in the Nope star. Of course, the connection goes beyond the similarities, as the Black Panther actress once played Palmer’s on-screen, supportive and stern mother in the spelling bee drama Akeelah and the Bee. Both were great in the movie and, as it turns out, Palmer may have played an instrumental role in Bassett playing her mother in the 2006 classic.

The two stars reunited for a special Vanity Fair video celebrating the drama film. Keke Palmer admitted to being a huge fan of both Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne due to their work in the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do with It. Fishburne had already been cast as Dr. Larrabee before his frequent co-star was cast as the title character’s mother, Tanya Anderson. Palmer recalled thinking, at the time, that it would be something if the Oscar-nominated co-stars could reunite years after co-starring in the Tina Turner biopic. During the conversation, Bassett stated that it was Palmer who got her the role:

I don’t know, for some reason, I recall that I got the role because of you. Is that true? I think that you suggested, they asked who would like to be your mom and you said, ‘I want Angela’. That’s what I recall, that’s what I remember during that time of how I came around to that project.

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