Lifetime have announced that Angela Bassett will direct a film about Whitney Houston’s life, with a particular focus on her relationship with Bobby Brown. The movie is set to air in 2015 and it’s exciting news, not least because it will be Bassett’s directorial debut.
All we know about the content is that, according to Lifetime, “the movie will follow the couple through their first meeting and tumultuous marriage, and Houston’s rise to fame”. Bassett will also bring personal experience to her role as director, she and Houston were friends as well co-stars in “Waiting to Exhale” (which was, before Houston’s death, set to get a sequel). In a statement, Bassett said:
“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 …Their humanity and bond fascinates us all. I’m beyond excited to have this opportunity to go behind the camera and into their world.”
Bearing in mind that this is set for Lifetime and not HBO or even the big screen, that might affect who they could entice to play the role of Houston. But it really shouldn’t. This is an iconic role, and Bassett learned a lot about how to make a truly sublime biopic with her Oscar-nominated work on “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. So here’s some dream casting – add your own in the comments and don’t let the Lifetime factor be an inhibition! Whoever it is, they have a major task on their hands capturing the insatiable fabulosity of Whitney.
Factors to consider:
Houston met Brown in 1989 and they married in 1992. This means the leading actress will have to be believable as both 26 and 48. There’s also the question of likeness, which might matter less if hers was not an image we all know just so well. That and how much the ability to really sing have been the main factors making these suggestions so difficult.
1. Meagan Good
Good is a possible front-runner after announcing back in December not only that playing Houston would be her “dream project” but that she and Whitney had been in conversation about a possible film before the former’s tragic death. With that kind of suggested blessing she might well find the dream job coming her way.
2. Yaya DaCosta
She’s slowly built up her acting experience (you might remember her from Lisa Cholokdenko’s “The Kids Are All Right”) and she certainly has something of Houston’s effortless beauty and charm. Not so sure about the singing side of things, though…
3. Taraji P. Henson
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2009 Henson has appeared in numerous TV shows and films (and she’s no stranger to Lifetime either having been involved in “The Division”). She might not have a voice to rivals Whitney’s (but who does?) but she a song she provided vocals for has won an Oscar, making her a definite contender. Also, it would be interesting to have an actress in her 40s allowed to play a woman in her late 20s, a task Henson could more than pull off.
This wouldn’t be a first foray into film for RiRi, who has cited Houston as one of the reasons she became a singer at all. In fact, she’s gone as far as to suggest that she would give her “entire life” for the chance to play Houston on screen. “I would really want to pull it off” she has said “that’s a huge, huge role, and whoever does it has to do a good job”. Never a truer word.
5. Kelly Rowland
Well we all know she can sing, she’s a huge Houston fan (she audioned for Destiny’s Child with ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’) and then there’s this:
6. Monique Coleman
Now 33 Coleman is no stranger to showcase TV projects having stared opposite James Earl Jones in Hallmark’s “The Reading Room” and made her name with Disney’s “High School Musical”. Since then she has made guest appearances in a string of hit shows, including “Veronica Mars”, “Malcolm in the Middle” and my personal fav “Gilmore Girls”. She can sing, and, not that it matters a jot for this project, she is also pretty awesome spending her spare time as a UN Youth Champion.
7. Jennifer Hudson
Because who has forgotten this:
8. Jasika Nicole
I’m a huge fan of Jasika Nicole though I do admit she’d be a left-field choice for this role. That said, she has this radiant smile which has always reminded me of Whitney, and fans of “Fringe” and “Scandal” know she has so much more potential than she has ever been allowed to unleash. I don’t know if she can sing, but this would be a killer role for her to land. (If you want to fall in love with her too read this interview with AfterEllen on being an out queer woman of color in Hollywood.)
9. Jordin Sparks
At 24 she’s definitely on the younger side of our list, but not only can she certainly sing she also knew Houston personally having starred alongside her in “Sparkle” (2012).
10. Bobbi Kristina Brown
Bobbi is, of course, Whitney’s daughter, and whilst this might seem an odd suggestion she herself (according to this) has expressed a desire to play the role. I imagine that it would be an emotionally fraught project to take on, and whilst I can think of plenty of young actors who’ve starred alongside their parents, I’m not sure how often they’ve actually played them (if you can think of any please do mention it in the comments).
And whilst there wasn’t space for them on this list, more than worthy of consideration would also be: Rae’Ven Larrymore Kelly, Naturi Naughton, Tessa Thompson, Zoe Kravitz, and Eva Marcille. Who is top of your list?