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Actor Robert Towsend’s documentary “Making The Five Heartbeats” is streaming on UMC TV in which he reveals that well-known actress Niecy Nash and singer and songwriter R.Kelly both auditioned for the musical classic.

“Keenan Ivory Wayans and I rewrote that script like 30 times, and what you will see is Niecy Nash on line at the open call audition,” Townsend shared with Page Six. “She was just a baby. Now she’s a Hollywood icon. R. Kelly is on line to audition at the Regal Theatre in Chicago.”

Townsend says that R. Kelly wanted to be a songwriter for the film.

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“He comes to me and he’s like, ‘Mr. Townsend I’m trying to be a songwriter for the movie’ … He did play some music for me.”

“Making The Five Heartbeats” follows the making of the movie in which co-writer Wayans was going to co-star, but Townsend felt that  Leon Robinson was a better fit.

“I saw Leon in the Madonna video ‘Like A Prayer,’ playing the Jesus figure and when I met him I thought he had a cool vibe to him. I thought he would be perfect for the role.”


Guess Who Almost Starred In The Classic Film ‘The Five Heartbeats?’  was originally published on