Angela Bassett Reflects on Emotional Challenges Portraying Tina Turner in ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’

Angela Bassett talked about how tough it was to play Tina Turner in the movie “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” She said it was hard both physically and emotionally, especially when they had to recreate the sad parts of Tina’s life.

Bassett played Tina Turner, who passed away in 2023, in the movie directed by Brian Gibson. Laurence Fishburne acted as Ike Turner, Tina’s husband who abused her.

“It wasn’t like playing around. You put a piece of yourself into the character when you really feel it,” said Bassett, who is 65.

Tina and Ike got married in 1962 but divorced 16 years later because of the abuse Tina suffered. After their breakup, Tina openly talked about the years of abuse she endured from Ike.

Bassett said Fishburne, 62, supported her during the tough scenes on set. Sometimes they had to work for 16 hours a day.

“I was new to this, so I didn’t have much power,” she said. “But I had someone who supported me and we would stand up for what we needed.”

One hard scene to film was when Ike chokes Tina and pushes her against a fish tank. “Portraying the violence of rape was emotionally draining,” said Bassett.

In another scene, Ike throws Tina over a couch. “I cried for 16 hours straight, whether I was acting or not,” said Bassett. “I probably wouldn’t do that now, but back then we were really dedicated.”

Even though it was tough, Bassett said the movie was important for her. It got her first Oscar nomination.

After her second Oscar nomination for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Bassett got an honorary Oscar. She was happy to share the experience with her family.

If you’re experiencing domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or visit It’s free and confidential, and available 24/7 in many languages.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, you can text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to talk to a counselor.

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