Dionne Warwick Gives Update on Teyana Taylor Playing Her in Upcoming Bio Series
By Mekishana Pierre
Dionne Warwick is ready for her fans to get her life story. During an appearance on Sherri Shepherd’s talk show, the 81-year-old songstress discussed the premiere of her award-winning documentary with CNN, Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over.
Directed by Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner, the film is narrated by Warwick and blends archival footage with personal photographs and newsreels of her career. It follows the course of the singer’s career from her start singing in gospel groups with family members in New Jersey, to her becoming a pop music sensation after she teamed with the songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
The film features exclusive interviews with Warwick’s sons, Damon and David Elliott, as well as music legends such as Burt Bacharach, Clive Davis, Snoop Dogg, Gloria Estefan, Barry Gibb, Berry Gordy, Elton John, Cissy Houston, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, Gladys Knight, Melissa Manchester, Olivia Newton-John, Smokey Robinson, Carlos Santana, Valerie Simpson and Stevie Wonder.
“I’m so excited about it, we’ve done I don’t know how many festivals, we were all over the place, and we did exceptionally well in all of them,” Warwick told the Sherri host. “We won a lot of the prizes which was very nice to hear and know people were interested in what Dionne Warwick was really all about.”
The singer noted that many people assumed that they knew her story and the documentary is her way of giving the truth behind the assumptions. “I said, ‘Well now, you’re gonna know and you’re gonna hear it from me,'” she told Shepherd.
Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over first premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, where it earned first runner-up for the People’s Choice Award for Documentaries and also earned Warwick a Special Tribute Award. Later, the film screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, DOC NYC and Annapolis Film Festival. It also won the Audience Award for Non-Fiction Feature at the Montclair Film Festival and Best Feature at the Gene Siskel Film Center’s Black Harvest Film Festival.
But Warwick has another project in progress to give her fans a behind-the-scenes look at her life story — a biographical series starring singer Teyana Taylor.
“We’ve been on the phone several times. She’s done her homework, She knows more about me than I know about me,” Warwick told Shepherd about working with the 31-year-old, calling Taylor a “hoot.” “I love her very, very much. She’s on it,” she added.
Warwick revealed a series based on her life was “in the works” back in February 2021, telling Entertainment Weekly that Taylor “is certainly a talented young lady with whom I’ve had the pleasure of interfacing. In fact, we had a conversation last night on the telephone. She’s very excited about the prospect of being involved and she’s also going to be very, very much involved in directing it and putting together parts and parcel of how we see this going.”
Taylor later told People that getting the opportunity had been “a fight” and that although she was excited, it was “a whole ‘nother level of pressure.”
“I’ve done a lot of movies and TV shows, but I still feel like I never really got the chance for people to really see me act. And I never got a chance to be in a serious film, where I literally have to bring somebody else’s story to life,” she told the outlet. “So, that in itself is a whole ‘nother level of pressure. But one thing about me is, any role that I’m playing, I go full in. I don’t half ass anything.”
Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over will premiere Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023 at 9 p.m. ET, exclusively on CNN. Following the film’s broadcast on CNN, it will be available via HBO Max.