Whitney Houston biopic directed by actress Angela Bassett has been criticized by the late singer’s family.
The singer’s sister-in-law, Pat Houston, wrote on Whitney’s website that fans who plan to watch the made-for-TV movie should “brace for the worst”.
Pat Houston said the film, which premiered on Lifetime on January 17 in the US, was made without the family’s blessing.
She also accused Angela Bassett, who starred alongside Whitney Houston in Waiting to Exhale, of “misrepresenting” their friendship.
“If you watch this movie, watch it knowing that Lifetime is notorious for making bad biopics of deceased celebrities and brace yourself for the worst,” wrote Pat Houston.
She added fans should not be surprised about the film – titled Whitney – happening “without the family’s blessing and despite her mother’s request to not do this movie”.
Referring to the channel’s recent controversial films about singer Aaliyah, actress Brittany Murphy and the stars of Saved by the Bell, Pat Houston added: “It happens every day.”
Pat Houston’s statement was also highly critical of Angela Bassett’s involvement in the film, which focuses on a few years at the height of the singer’s career and marks the actress’s directorial debut.
“Misrepresenting the term friendship to advance an agenda is not only disrespectful and dishonest but a slap in the face to her true and loyal friends,” wrote Pat Houston.
“You should expect people will always rise to the occasion for prominence and profit – not love, respect or honor.”
Lifetime, whose film is told from the perspective of Whitney Huston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown, has so far made no comment on the statement.
A review from The Hollywood Reporter‘s Allison Keene praised Yaya DaCosta’s portrayal of Whitney Houston, but said “a more accurate title for the film would be Whitney and Bobby,” as the pair share equal screen time.
“The decision to focus just on Houston’s most meteorically successful years – where, for a little while, she probably was happy – makes Whitney a fairly flattering portrait that is only lightly a cautionary tale.
“The signs are there, but they are left to viewers to interpret.”
Writing for the Los Angeles Times, critic Robert Lloyd called it “a better-than-average Lifetime film” but said it “falls flat”.
Whitney Houston died in February 2012 at the age of 48 after accidentally drowning in a hotel bathtub in Los Angeles.
[youtube sQ5Eze-cbtQ 650]
Angela Basset will make her directorial debut with a biopic about late singer Whitney Houston.
The Lifetime channel confirmed the movie will chronicle Whitney Houston’s rise to fame and her turbulent relationship with ex-husband Bobby Brown, from their first meeting to their marriage.
Angela Basset said “their humanity and bond fascinates us all”.
Whitney Houston died in February 2012, aged 48, after accidentally drowning in a hotel bathtub in Los Angeles.
Angela Basset will make her directorial debut with a biopic about late singer Whitney Houston
The coroner’s report into her death ruled the star had drowned due to heart failure and “chronic” cocaine use.
Whitney Houston sold millions of records worldwide including her hit cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You from 1992 film The Bodyguard, in which she also starred.
“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,” Angela Basset said.
Although the movie will be Angela Basset’ first turn behind the camera, she has played several characters based on real people.
Her performance as Tina Turner in 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It earned her a best actress Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.
Angela Basset also played Voletta Wallace, the mother of murdered rapper Notorious BIG, in the 2009 film Notorious.
Earlier this year Angela Basset received several TV award nominations for her role in Lifetime TV mini-series Betty and Coretta, where she and Mary J. Blige played the wives of Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, who formed a life-long bond after their husbands’ assassinations.
With a working title of Whitney Houston, the biopic is set to air in 2015. The cast has yet to be announced.
A sequel to Waiting to Exhale, Whitney Houston’s 1995 hit, may be in the works, despite the star’s death.
Based on a Terry McMillan novel, the movie starred Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon and Loretta Devine as four girlfriends dealing with bad relationships.
Before her death, Whitney Houston had completed her first film since the 1996 holiday comedy The Preacher’s Wife. Her last movie, called Sparkle, is a remake of a 1976 film about a girl group, and also stars Jordin Sparks.
There was talk of Whitney Houston continuing her transition back to film with a Waiting to Exhale sequel, but in the event of her drug-related death, all possible plans were halted.
A sequel to Waiting to Exhale, Whitney Houston's 1995 hit, may be in the works, despite the star's death
However, in a recent interview with Good Day LA, co-star Loretta Devine said that development may continue without Whitney Houston, adding: “Now the focus would be a tribute to her, which would be wonderful. We don’t know if they’re going to try to introduce a new character or pull her character out all together.
“So it’s a lot of rewrites that they’ll have to go through, so I don’t know if it’s going to happen as soon as we thought it would happen.”
There has been talk of a remake of another Whitney Houston movie, the highly successful thriller The Bodyguard. Singer Rihanna has ruled out a role in the film, though she has expressed interest in playing Whitney Houston in a possible biopic.