Southern choir leader in ‘Joyful Noise’ based on writer’s Jewish mom
NEW YORK – You might never guess that the sassy, down-home Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah), tough choir leader at the small-town Georgia church in “Joyful Noise,” was inspired by writer-director Todd Graff’s Jewish mother from Queens.
In closing credits of the film, Graff pays tribute to his mother, the late Judy Graff, longtime and strong-willed leader of a women’s Hadassah choir in her small ethnic neighborhood of Bellrose, Queens, for inspiring the character.
In fact, Graff said, she inspired the whole movie.
“Yeah, I really based Vi Rose on my mother, even though if you saw the two women (Latifah and his mom) together they couldn’t be more different,” Graff said in press interviews arranged by Warner Bros.
“My mom was the choir director for this Hadassah choir,” the filmmaker recalled. “These ladies would come over to our house every Tuesday and Thursday night, and they would chain smoke and sing these songs while I was trying to do homework upstairs for years. Maybe they would perform at a nursing home every once in a while.
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