UPDATE Beyonce's rep tells Billboard: "Beyonce is in no way tied to this project. They add, "this is an important story that should be told, however."
The story below originally appeared on Jan. 4 at 11:30 a.m. PST:
Beyonce is writing a biopic and starring in a movie about enslaved "freak show."
The film is centered around Saartjie (Sarah) Baartman, a Khoikhoi woman from South Africa who was put on display at a Victorian freak show as the "Hottentot Venus." Beyonce, who is the most nominated woman in Grammy history, has her sights set on the Oscars when she plays the role of Baartman, who was exhibited in London during the 1800s at Piccadilly Circus's infamous Egyptian Hall because of her large derrière.
A source claims Beyonce wants to be taken more seriously as an actress. “Beyonce is desperate to be taken seriously as an actress. Even though she’s had a string of well-received movies, she still feels her breakthrough role is yet to come. She now wants to write a screenplay that gains her respect — and hopefully awards — from the film industry, and thinks Saartjie’s story could be her ticket."
They add, “winning an Academy Award would mean everything to her, and she’s a woman who is used to getting exactly what she wants.”
But not everyone is keen on Beyonce playing the role of Baartman. Chief Jean Burgess of the First Indigenous Peoples of South Africa says Beyonce "lacks the basic human dignity to be worthy of writing Sarah's story, let alone playing the part."
"Ignoring the fact that the Khoikhoi is alive and that Sarah's story would have an impact on how we are portrayed, is a mistake of great magnitude."
Burgess also questions why Beyonce instead doesn't play an "indigenous American woman," saying, "I can only see arrogance in her attempt to tell a story that is not hers to tell."
In November, Beyonce met with actor Jorge Ortiz for a mysterious script reading, and we have a hunch it's for this.