Lifetime network has announced a bio-pic on the life of the late singer Whitney Houston is in the works. The movie is planned for a 2015 debut and will be helmed by actor and now first-time director, Angela Bassett.
With the current working title Whitney Houston, the project is said to reenact the singer’s life with former husband, Bobby Brown from their introduction, their courtship and through the couple’s tumultuous marriage. The film will also take a look into the singing superstar’s meteoric journey to fame and Houston’s untimely demise.
While this is her first time behind the lens, Angela Bassett knows a few things about the bio-pic genre. The actress made her claim to fame and earned an Oscar nomination in 1993 portraying rock singer Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With it? Bassett has built an acting resume playing a number of real-life characters from Katherine Jackson, the matriarch of the Jackson family in 1992’s The Jacksons: An American Dream, in the Spike Lee helmed film Malcolm X, Bassett played his wife Betty Shabazz. The actress also portrayed civil rights pioneer, Rosa Parks in The Rosa Parks Story, and more recently as Corretta Scott King in Lifetime network’s bio-pic Betty and Coretta. The Whitney Houston project is being written by Shem Bitterman and executive produced by Larry Sanitsky both of whom worked with Bassett on Betty and Coretta. As for who will play Houston in the film, no casting has been announced.
Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett became friends when they worked together in the big screen adaptation of Terri McMillian’s novel Waiting to Exhale back in 1995. In a statement, Bassett expressed her deep respect and admiration for the talents of both Houston and her former husband Bobby Brown. Bassett says she feels a great sense of responsibility to tell the story of a couple that goes beyond the tabloid fodder. Bassett furthers says she is hoping to tap into the couple’s humanity and show what made them bond in a marriage that lasted from 1992 to 2007.
Whitney Houston came from singing gospel music in her Newark New Jersey church to singing soulful pop music that catapulted the statuesque beauty, with a unique vocal quality, to international music icon status. The seven time grammy award winning singer would find success crossing over into movies with her big screen debut in The Bodyguard. Earning over $100 million at the box office, the film had produced one of the number one movie soundtracks of all time and the song that would become synonymous with the singer, the Dolly Parton penned ballad, I Will Always Love You.
On a fast track to success, Houston would, in later years, find herself succumbing to the pressures of the entertainment industry and a troubled marriage by falling into a known drug addiction that would rob the singer of the angelic vocal ability that first brought her to prominence. Whitney Houston was found dead on February 11, 2012 in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton hotel room. The Los Angeles county coroner declared Houston died of an accidental drowning with drugs in her system as a contributing factor.
The Whitney Houston movie is the latest in a string of projects planned to resurrect the dead. While television audiences will get to relive the story of the singer known as “The Voice,” a big screen film is currently in development on the life of rock star Janice Joplin who, like Houston, lost her life to drugs. Actress Amy Adams is said to be starring as Joplin. A bio-pic on the life of Queen lead singer Freddy Mercury is also in development. More recently, the story of Johnny Cash was made into a movie, 2005’s Walk the Line which starred Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.
By Hal Banfield