Queen Latifah

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In The Secret Life of Bees, Queen Latifah plays August Boatwright, the nurturing oldest sister. When Oprah first read the book, she says she imagined Latifah in this role.

Latifah says she immediately felt connected to her character. "August is so solid, so nurturing and just so caring about her family," she says. "She just reminded me of my mother in a lot of ways and my grandmother."

Though the book has been read by millions and spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, Latifah says she relied on director Gina Prince-Bythewood's script for character cues. "A book is a book, and a film is a film," she says. "Your mind takes that journey when you're reading a book, and the characters look all kinds of different ways and the scenery is so different in each individual's mind. But when you bring it to screen, there's certain criteria that have to be followed in order for you to really make it happen."