Brooklyn Sudano on Kelly Rowland Possibly Playing Her Mother Donna Summer in a Biopic (Exclusive)


There are few things that bring music and movie fans together such as the belief that if a Donna Summer biopic is ever produced, Kelly Rowland should be first in line to portray the Queen of Disco. 

Every so often, social media implodes as users clamor to point out how similar the two singers look. And Rowland isn’t shy to bolster the calls for her to nab a starring role in a potential biopic; in 2019, the Destiny’s Child alum dressed as the First Lady of Love for Halloween and sent fans into a frenzy. 

Donning a feathered white coat over a white bodysuit tied at the waist, Rowland shared several photos of her costume paired with photos of Summer in the original outfit. The singer even emulated Summer’s eye makeup and curly long hair, putting a lovely bow on her near-perfect ensemble.

A month later, during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, the actress was asked by a fan when she would produce the biopic to star in herself since “it’s time.”

Thanking fans for “reminding me for the hundredth time,” Rowland agreed that it was time for a film celebrating the late singer’s legacy. “I really, really do appreciate it because the truth is, it is time,” she added.  

She isn’t the only one who thinks so! ET recently spoke with Brooklyn Sudano, one of Summer’s three children, who teamed up with Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams to direct an HBO Original documentary exploring the highs and lows of her mother’s fame, giving fans a deeply personal portrait of the Queen of Disco before her death on May 17, 2012.

While explaining her motivation for pushing forward with Love to Love You, Donna Summer, Sudano offered her two cents to the longstanding fan casting, giving her blessing for Rowland to handle the role.

“I’m friends with Kelly and sometimes I look at her, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, Kelly, you remind me so much of my mom,'” she admitted to ET’s Nischelle Turner, laughing. “So much so and her spirit is the same. The whole world and all of Twitter and everybody [is] like, ‘Kelly, we got to figure this out.'”

Rowland even took to Instagram to praise the “Bad Girls” singer in promotion of the new documentary.

“Donna Summer is a force when it comes to creativity, originality, the way she dominated the stage with her voice! This woman’s voice is unmatched, the strength, the tone, no one sounds like her and just watching her videos now on YouTube, I can only imagine what her presence felt like,” she gushes in the video.

Several followers chimed in with comments, once again calling for Rowland to jumpstart production so she could take the part. “Kelly if you don’t stop teasing us and bring Donna Summer back to life,” one commenter wrote. “The role is yours. Take it.”

Even Tina Lawson is jumping on the campaign! On May 23, she took to Instagram to share four photos of Summer, captioning the post, “I have been saying for many years Kelly Rowland embodies Donna Summer ! If there was ever any doubt this seals the deal where are you Hollywood? What are y’all waiting on?” before adding two heart emojis and tagging the “Motivation” singer.

Until someone can make the biopic happen, Love to Love You, Donna Summer offers an intimate glimpse at the artist’s life on and off stage.

The documentary features interviews, archival footage, personal audio from the singer’s own mouth and Summer’s infectious music for a new perspective on the life of the vocal powerhouse. It explores the underbelly of the disco era that saw Summer’s — born LaDonna Adrian Gaines — rise to fame. It also delves into her internal battles, including her struggles with depression and addiction.

“I had just become a mother. I didn’t have my mom. And so I was processing a lot of what that was like, and you know, what that might have been like for her because I was a working mom. So there was that,” Sudano told ET when asked what inspired her to grant fans an in-depth look into her mother’s life.

“There were so many fans that would come up to me and share their stories. And I did feel like she was kind of this mythical, mysterious person that people didn’t really know who she fully was — I think they kind of saw this persona and didn’t really understand just how much of an artist she was,” she added. “And then, I think, as I started to reach out to people and talk to people, I realized that I needed to be part of the directing team because I think they intrinsically trusted me to tell their truth. And I think that’s why we have the film that we ended up with, we wanted a really honest approach.”

When it comes to her mother’s legacy, Sudano said that despite her dislike for being boxed in, she “realized just what her impact was, and was OK with that.”

She added that her mother struggled to “break free from some of those confining ideas” but she adored her fans and their devotion to her work. “She was the Beyoncé [and] the Madonna of her time,” she told ET. “When I go back and I speak to people that were there in the moment, she was everywhere from 1975 to 1980. She was the biggest female star you could have worldwide. I think that the pace and the intensity of that were part of the reason why she probably wanted to jump out that window at the moment.”

Still, Sudano acknowledged how her mother was at the top of her game. “She was on the cover of Rolling Stone. She was on the cover of Ebony, she was the first Black woman who had a music video on MTV. So, she was that person. I don’t think that people always connect those dots. And I’m hoping the film is able to do that.”

“I think her legacy is one of love,” the director concluded. “Her music was something that brought people together. It allowed people to see themselves, it allowed people to come together and be joyous and feel healed. And so it’s a legacy of love, of joy and healing. And I hope that the film is reflective of that because that’s really what she stood for.”

Love to Love You, Donna Summer is now available to stream on Max.

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