Since the recent announcement of plans for a Whitney Houston bio-pic set to be produced by Lifetime television, the big buzz swirling around social media has been who will play the title role of the late singer. Who among the short list of contemporary actresses could carry off the poise, attitude and beauty of Houston convincingly? Producers of the film are confident to have found their leading lady and have tapped actress and America’s Next Top Model contestant Yaya DaCosta.
Yaya DaCosta, while known mostly known from her participation in the third cycle of the reality competition show America’s Next Top Model, the 31-year-old beauty has been branching out into acting over the past few years. Since her time on ANTM, DaCosta has appeared in small parts in television, with her most noted gig on the soap opera All My Children back in 2008. The statuesque model-turned-actress would land small roles in feature films including 2010 comedy The Kids are All Right alongside Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo and most recently in last year’s film, Lee Daniel’s The Butler. The tentatively titled Whitney Houston project marks DaCosta’s first substantial leading role which is slated to debut on the Lifetime network some time in 2015.
While the film will mark DaCosta’s first starring role, the project will also serve as the directorial debut of actress Angela Bassett who is taking up the heavy task of helming a project on the life of an woman who has meant many different things to many different people. Even two years after her death, many still revere the late Whitney Houston as one of the greatest contemporary pop and soul voices of all time who’s beauty and stage presence accentuated her sound. Others consider Houston a tragic example of a pop star who squandered her gift of song in exchange for a life of excessive drugs that forced the songstress to plummet to her unfortunate demise.
Lifetime executives say the movie plans to focus on the Houston’s early rise to stardom from 1985 through the early 1990’s when she first came on the music scene and reached the pinnacle of her career with the movie The Bodyguard. The second act of the film will examine the dynamic and often troubled relationship with her ex-husband, R&B singer Bobby Brown. Executives say the film does not delve into the downward spiral of the singer’s life and career when in 20012, at the age of 48, Whitney Houston tragically died due to an accidental drowning that coroners attributed to drug abuse. Executives are confident that that Yaya DaCosta has the combination of beauty and acting ability to portray the singer during her younger years. DaCosta, who is not a singer, will for all intents and purposes lip-sync to musical tracks of Whitney Houston songs.
According to reports, the surviving family to the late Whitney Houston is not behind the project. Reports say that the family, is allegedly planning on suing to halt production from moving forward. The Houston estate believes a major motion picture would be more befitting of the singers legacy than a television movie and had already been in the works to develop a theatrical film on the late singer’s life.
By Hal Banfield