Mary J. Blige Begins Shooting <i>Betty & Coretta</i>
Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic

Mary J. Blige is taking a break from her national “Liberation” tour with D’Angelo to begin filming biopic Betty and Coretta, reports

Blige, who is set to play Betty Shabazz, stars alongside Angela Bassett as Coretta in the Lifetime drama about the friendship the two developed after their husbands were assassinated. “Right now it’s a little sad, but I’m enjoying it,” said Blige. “It’s the death of Malcolm, the death of Martin and the women trying to be strong and get through it.”

So far, Blige and Bassett have completed screen tests with hair and makeup to look the part. “I’ve really been enjoying the whole experience. It’s a lot of long days and months and weeks and you know, I’m working my way through it.”

The ESSENCE Music Festival alumna is no stranger to acting. This past summer she had a part in Tom Cruise’s Rock of Ages. She previously had a supporting role in 2009’s I Can Do Bad All by Myself.

Blige also made movie headlines recently when the Hollywood Reporter announced that Zoe Saldana would replace Blige in an upcoming biopic about Nina Simone. Blige reportedly pulled out due to funding issues.