‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’: 10 Facts

Whitney Houston as Tina? Here are 10 things you may not know about the iconic film released 20 years ago.

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    Touchstone Pictures

    It has been 20 years since the release of the epic biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It. Angela Bassett toned up and shook a tail feather as Anna Mae Bullock — a small-town girl from the Nutbush, Tenn., city limits, turned into Tina Turner, a husky-voiced singer leading the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. And Laurence Fishburne made for a convincing Ike: He sang all the vocals and even perfected Turner’s stutter.

    If you’re a fan of the film, you likely quote certain lines (“Eat the cake, Anna Mae” and “If you die on me, I’ll kill you”). And perhaps you’ve even sung “Proud Mary” at a local karaoke bar — complete with a few Ikettes to back you up. As The Root celebrates the film’s debut, take a look at 10 facts you might not have known about What’s Love Got to Do With It.


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    Whitney Houston at the 32nd Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame (Scott Gries/Getty Images)

    Tina Turner Was Supposed to Be Played By ...  

    Whitney Houston was offered the lead role, but she had to decline because she was pregnant with Bobbi Kristina. Halle Berry, Pam Grier, Vanessa L. Williams, Robin Givens and Janet Jackson were reportedly considered for the role.


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    Charlie Murphy (Getty Images)

    Charlie Murphy Wanted to Play Ike Turner

    But the casting director was hell-bent on casting Laurence Fishburne, who turned down the role five times. Fishburne finally accepted after he learned that Bassett would play Tina. The duo had previously worked together on Boyz n the Hood.

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    Vanessa Bell Calloway in What's Love Got to Do With It (Touchstone Pictures)

    Vanessa Bell Calloway Lip-Synched the Buddhist Chant  

    Calloway’s strong Christian faith had her wary of reciting, “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.”


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    Still from What's Love Got to Do With It (Touchstone Pictures)

    Parts of the Film Were Taped in the Real Turner Home

    The producers found that the Turner home was still relatively the same since the ’60s — even down to the wallpaper. 


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    Angela Bassett Won a Golden Globe for Her Performance

    She and Fishburne were both nominated for Academy Awards, too, but neither won.


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    The Dallas Plaza Hotel (G.J. McCarthy/Dallas News)

    The Dallas Hotel That Tina Escaped to Is Now Closed

    The Dallas Plaza Hotel, which was called the Ramada Plaza Hotel, closed in 2009. There were plans to turn the hotel into housing for the homeless and low-income residents of Dallas.


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    LaFaye Baker (YouTube); Kym Washington (Facebook)

    These Women Were Angela Bassett's Stunt Doubles

    LaFaye Baker directed the 2006 documentary Hollywood at Its Best, which focuses on African-American stuntwomen in Hollywood. Kym Washington was also featured in the documentary.


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    Jenifer Lewis (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images; Angela Bassett (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

    Jenifer Lewis Is Only 2 Years Older Than Angela Bassett

    We guess Ike’s assumption that Anna Mae’s mother was actually her sister was not too far-fetched. Lewis also auditioned for the role of Turner but was cast as her mother instead. Lewis later played opposite Bassett in Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns.


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    Tim Meadows (ShareTV); Regina King (Parent Previews); Martina and Gina (YouTube); Kandi Burruss (Bravo TV)
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    Classic Lines From the Film Live On  

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