By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 29, 2014 at 3:16PM
By now, we all know that Angela Bassett's will make her directorial debut with the Lifetime Original Movie Whitney Houston (working title), which will chronicle the headline-making relationship between the iconic singer, actress, producer and model, and singer, songwriter Bobby Brown - from the time they first met at the very height of their celebrity, to their courtship and tumultuous marriage.
“I have such regard for both Whitney’s and Bobby’s amazing talents and accomplishments; and I feel a responsibility in the telling of their story,” said Bassett. “Their humanity and bond fascinates us all. I’m beyond excited to have this opportunity to go behind the camera and into their world.”
Produced by The Sanitsky Company, Whitney Houston will be executive produced by Larry Sanitsky (who produced Betty & Coretta, the Lifetime Original Movie that Bassett starred in last year).
Shem Bitterman (Betty & Coretta) wrote the film’s script.
Whitney Houston is scheduled for a 2015 world premiere.
Of course, Bassett and Houston co-starred in the adaptation of Terry McMillan's novel, Waiting To Exhale, in 1995, under Forest Whitaker's direction.
It's rare that I'm stomped when it comes to casting ideas; I almost always have a recommendation or two, no matter the role. But this time folks, I'm officially stomped. I can't think of any *known* actors I'd cast to play Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown in the film. It might simply be that I'm just not interested in seeing a film based on their real-life relationship. And that could be because, even though I don't (didn't) know either of them personally, I feel like it's a story that was played out publicly enough in the media that there is some familiarity (and it wasn't all-that interesting a story to me anyway), and I'm just not excited about a feature film retelling of it - especially one that's being made for the Lifetime movie channel, a network known for its mawkish, schmaltzy, melodramatic brand of programming.
I actually would prefer a film about an even more shortened period in their lives - like a week, a month, or even a day; Pick one of the more interesting, dynamic and dramatic moments during those first 5 years the film will cover, and make that the film's focus.
Since word of a Whitney Houston biopic began circulating many moons ago, several actresses have expressed interest in playing her, or have been rumored to have been attached to various Whitney Houston projects, even when she was alive: Brandy, Meagan Good, Lark Voorhies and Vivica Fox was once rumored many years ago. There was also talk of Rihanna starring in a Whitney Houston biopic. "I would have to give my entire life to do [it], because I would really want to pull it off," was her quote in an MTV interview 2 years ago.
If it were up to me, I'd look at *unknowns* for the 2 starring roles (they come with less baggage), and then cast *known* actors around them, in supporting roles, especially if having recognizable talent in front of the screen is a Lifetime movie mandate.
I should note that, 2 years ago, Bobby Brown was said to be shopping around a script based on his life, to Hollywood studios, and there apparently was some interest, although details were sparse at the time. Titled The Bad Boy of R&B: The Bobby Brown Story, it smelled like, with Whitney Houston's death, Brown was looking to capitalize on that unfortunate occurrence. No word on whether it's a project that's still alive.
But, really, I'd rather Angela Bassett and Lifetime pick some other subject matter entirely to tackle. There are after all, an infinite number of stories in the known universe to tell. Choose one of them instead.
But I'm not Bassett, nor am I an executive at Lifetime, so it's not my decision to make, and I have zero influence here, sadly.
But pretend that you do have a say in how the film is cast! Who would you want as Whitney Houston and as Bobby Brown in this Angela Bassett-directed Lifetime movie? By the way, you should be aware that the story will take place during the first 5 years, following the couple's initial meeting. So we're talking 1989 to 1994, or thereabouts. Therefore, actors and actresses considered will have to be able to play late 20-somethings. Whitney was 26 in 1989, and Bobby was just 20 years old. So keep that in mind when you're coming up with names.