Lena Horne boots Janet Jackson from TV biopic. The legendary singer no longer wanted the younger diva to portray her after her Super Bowl scandal

By Gary Susman
February 24, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Janet Jackson: Sante D'Orazio

Janet Jackson’s ”wardrobe malfunction” has cost her what could have been the most prestigious acting role of her career, the starring role in ABC’s anticipated biopic of legendary actress and singer Lena Horne. Jackson had been cast in the project months ago, and she’d even appeared in a recent Vanity Fair magazine photo shoot costumed as Horne. Now, however, Variety cites a Jackson spokesperson as saying that Horne and daughter Gail Lumet Buckley were so infuriated by the younger singer’s scandalous Super Bowl halftime show that they refused to grant ABC their contractual approval of the project unless Jackson was fired. ABC refused, Variety reports, but Jackson made the dispute academic by dropping out of the project.

Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who’ve produced a number of showbiz biopics (”The Reagans,” ”Martin and Lewis”) and musicals (”The Music Man,” ”Annie”) for TV in recent years, also dropped out of the project in solidarity with Jackson; a spokesperson for the producers said they would look for another project on which to collaborate with Jackson. As for the Horne movie, unless the network can find new producers and a new star, the biopic is effectively dead. ”It’s sad this had to happen,” an ABC insider told Variety. ”It was a perfect match.”