Hmmmm....so it looks like Lifetime is getting the first crack at telling Whitney Houston's life story. The network has greenlighted an original movie with the working title Whitney Houston.
Slated to be directed by Houston's Waiting To Exhale costar Angela Bassett, the film, which will air next year, will cover the late singer's stormy relationship with Bobby Brown, chronicling the early days of their courtship through their often-turbulent marriage, while also focusing on Houston's music and acting career.
“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.” Executive producer Larry Sanitsky and writer Shem Bitterman, the same team that produced last year's TV flick Betty & Coretta, have signed on to work on the film.
Again, hmmmm....while Whitney and Bobby's story is in much better hands with Bassett, than say, Tyler Perry's *shudders*, this will Bernadine's first time behind the director's chair. Then there's the question of the channel itself. Lifetime's track record with biopics is spotty at best; Betty & Coretta was alright, but then are the twin train wrecks of Life Is Not A Fairy Tale and Lindsay Lohan's laughable turn as Liz Taylor. And wasn't there a Gaga biopic in the works?
Part of me can't shake the idea this amount to nothing more than a watered down version of What's Love Got To Do With It. Not because Bassett is involved, but because the dynamics and public perception of Whitney and Bobby's marriage are very identical to Ike and Tina's. In other words, I'm deeply afraid Whitney Houston will portray Whitney as an absolute saint and Bobby as the devil.
Look, I'm a Nippy fan, but we know her life wasn't all sunshine, Grammys and platinum records; there were the drugs of course, but also the "Whitey Houston" sellout accusations, the lesbian rumors, domestic violence and family and legal squabbles. You know, real life. And if this movie is going to transcend the typical sanitized rock bio fare, it can't gloss over the grittier aspects of Whitney's story. I'd almost prefer it air as a four-hour, two-night epic The Jacksons: An American Dream/The Temptations-style, or go for a major theatrical release. Lest we forget, Whitney was one of the biggest pop stars of the last 30 years, so she certainly has the fanbase to pack theaters.
I'm not saying Whitney Houston is doomed to be bad. But given the medium and the players involved, it ain't lookin' that good. And we haven't even touched on who would play Whitney...
What do you think?