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HBO to film Bessie in Covington starting Monday

COVINGTON — More film production crews will be in Covington starting Monday to produce the HBO film, “Bessie.”

The Covington City Council received a road closure request from assistant location manager Trey Neely for permission to film in the following areas:

• Covington City Cemetery off Southview Drive;

• 3299 Emory St.;

• 2146 Conyers St.;

• 2161 Church St.; and

• Washington and Reynolds streets.

The filming crews will start shooting on Monday and finish by June 20. The film will depict the life of Bessie Smith, an iconic blues singer. Queen Latifah will play the role of Smith, who overcame her wild personal life to become one of the most acclaimed performing and recording artists in the 1920s through the 1930s. Smith earned the nickname of Empress of the Blues for her unique voice.

Other actors to be featured in “Bessie” are Michael K. Williams, known for his role in “12 Years a Slave” and “RoboCop,” who will play Smith’s husband, and Mo’Nique, who is taking on the role as Ma Rainey, one of the first professional blues singers billed as the Mother of the Blues.

“Bessie” is produced by HBO Films in association with Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere’s Flavor Unit Entertainment and Lili and the late Richard Zanuck’s the Zanuck Co. Dee Rees is the director of the film, who is known for filming many shorts along with the full-length feature, “Pariah” in 2011.