I first saw Anika Noni Rose on Broadway in her Tony Award-winning role in Caroline, or Change. She was great, but nearly got blown off the stage (just about anyone would have) by the incredible Tonya Pinkins. Then she had a similar situation in Dreamgirls, barely getting a mention in most reviews. She had the least flashy role by far, but I thought she held her own against the bombastic Jennifer Hudson and the ridiculously good-looking Beyonce. And now she's joining another powerful singer -- Jill Scott -- for Anthony Minghella's The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Scott hasn't done much film acting, but has a part in the controversial Dakota Fanning film Hounddog, and a supporting role in Tyler Perry's upcoming Why Did I Get Married? No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency will be an adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's novel of the same name. Any fans out there?
Rose will play Grace Makutsi, "the secretary/assistant detective to Precious Ramotswe (Scott), who owns a Botswana-based detective agency run by women." Relative newcomer Lucian Msamati will play Ramotswe's fiancé in the film. Minghella wrote the script with Richard Curtis (Love, Actually), and with Minghella at the helm, I think it is safe to assume that Detective Agency will be...long. Like, punishingly long. This also seems like quite a departure for Minghella, who usually takes on films about exceedingly pale people doing exceedingly cold things as slowly as possible. There's a whole series of Agency books, and it is "likely that a TV series based on Agency will follow the movie, but no deals are in place." Oh, and if you want to see Rose in something that will haunt her resume for decades -- check out From Justin to Kelly. Why that movie hasn't become this generation's Plan 9 From Outer Space is a mystery to me.