Oprah to Replace Whitney in Waiting to Exhale Sequel?

February 15, 2012  |  

“Sparkle” wasn’t the only movie project Whitney Houston had lined up before her passing. The sequel to the 1995 classic “Waiting to Exhale” was also slated to be in the works, and Fox’s president says the movie will still go on without her.

Fox 2000 Pictures purchased the rights to the movie sequel from Terry McMillan after she published Getting to Happy in 2010, and President Elizabeth Gabler said there are no plans to cancel production in light of news of Whitney’s death.

“I don’t think she would want it to,” Elizabeth said in an interview with Vulture Monday afternoon. “It’s almost in her honor that we think to soldier on.”

Once the shock over Whitney’s sudden death passes, Elizabeth says discussions will begin about who would be an appropriate replacement for her character, and she mentioned that since Oprah Winfrey has done her share of acting and worked over time to promote the film, “it isn’t inconceivable” that she might have an interest in playing the part, although Elizabeth adds:

“We literally have not talked about anybody for that part. Forest [Whitaker], I know, is just … grieving. He’d been the one who was speaking with her, updating [Houston] on its progress.”

It’s hard for me to envision Oprah taking on that part for a number of reasons and it seems as though it may be best to try to cut Savannah out of the script as much as possible. But since it’s nearly 20 years after the original film debuted, maybe no one will mind the character change.

What do you think Fox should do about Whitney Houston’s character? If they replace her, who would be a good choice?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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  • Jacksonblack91

    I think Tasha Smith would be really good if you could take that Tyler Perry mad Black woman element out of her





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  • I would rather they just cut her part out, or not do it AT ALL. Whitney is irreplaceable. 

  • Stuvi32

    Robin Givens???

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  • Is It 5:00 Yet?

    NAWWWW! Leave it be.

  • Lynn

    I think Halle Berry would be a good person to play Whitney Houston’s part.

  • lovinlife

    It would be better to write Savannah out the script. I don’t think Oprah would be a good fit and definitely not a 30 something year old actress playing a character that was in her thirties 20 years ago. I read the sequel, Getting to Happy, a while ago and I can not remember Savannah’s role in the book.  They could play up Tarik’s role to fill in the space.

  • First of all, they don’t need a sequel. The way the movie ended just doesn’t make room for a sequel. And Hell no Oprah doesn’t fit in at all. Please tell me this is a rumor.

  • NO Oprah ! Why not Clair huxtable ?

  • tastythoughts

    yes imma mind that character change….i think her character should pass in the movie….and then a new girlfriend comes in…that seems way more realistic

    • REALLY

      Please not Gabrille Union….

  • lisa

    suggestions: Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Halle Berry, Golden Brooks, Tracey Ellis Ross, Jill Marie Jones, Tasha Smith, Thandie Newton, Janet Jackson,  Gabrille Union just NOTTTTTTTTTTTTT Oprah

  • JenG

    I think they should have a screen about Savannah passing at the beginning of the movie because there is no way that someone else could play the part and make the movie seem right. All of us remember her in the movie so it is fitting to take her out at the beginning.

  • Techlilinu

    Gabrielle Union would have been a good choice too if she were a little older.  Also, Aisha Tyler if she were a little older too. 

    • JenG

      I will not pay to see GU as Savannah! anyone but her!

  • GlenCoco

    Please Hollywood, just leave it alone.

  • Reasonable

    Oprah…..um, no. I agree that Wendy R. Robinson may be a good choice, but she seems to play an around the way girl in most of her roles. This may be a good chance for her to show her range as an actress, but I wouldn’t count Sanaa Lathan out as a possible choice either. Sanaa has that mature, stylish sophistication that it would take to replace Whitney as Savannah. She’s also a very versatile actress. I wouldn’t have believed she could play such a cold hearted b@#$h as she did in, “A Family that Prays Together.” #JMO

  • KitSy

    I think they need to write her character out. Not trying to be macabre but I envision the opening scene with the other three ladies attending her funeral (they can say she died of breast cancer or something). They can then introduce a whole new character who fills the storyline that the sequel originally had for Savannah (with lots of tweaking, of course)

  • Yoma

    Taraji P Henson, would rock Savanah, she would be sensitive enough to honor Whitney’s role in ‘Waiting to Exhale’ while bringing her style to role.  Oprah naw….

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  • Ange248

    Waiting to Exhale is a classic film. I’m not sure about the idea of a sequel although all four of the actresses gave stellar performances in that film.


    Whoever they choose, the actress has to *look* 50 or close to it, as 15 years or so have passed – according to the book – since WTE.

    I am currently reading the book and from what I’ve read thus far, Savannah plays as big a role as the other characters in the book. I’m at a loss as to who would be a suitable replacement…Wendy Raquel Robinson is a good look, as is Tasha Smith. IDK…

    RIP Whitney!

  • Joann95798

    no there doesn’t need to be a sequel. If you do Jennifer Hudson would make an excellent replacement as a new character, not as Savannah.

  • Evans801

    If Oprah is all you can think of then just do away with that character.

  • tiffanysince1987

    Still cannot believe she is dead.. Waiting to Exhale is such an iconic movie (my personal opinon) and I do not understand how they could gone on and replace the main star with another “familiar” face.. This aint Destiny’s Child, I sure hope that the writers and director are brilliant with their craft cuz it’s going to take something short of a miracle to pull that off.

  • Burito9245

    Wow, that is a hard one!  I really can’t see anyone else playing Savannah other than Whitney.  Maybe Vanessa Williams?  I don’t know.  I know that they shouldn’t take the character out because they all played off each other.  Yeah, you got me on that one.

  • Guest

    Vivica would’ve been a good choice but…. she doesn’t look real anymore… How about Taraji? Vanessa Williams (either one) is a great choice too..

  • IllyPhilly

    A sequel?

  • TalentTvForKids.com

    Not Oprah.  I love her as the talk show host icon she is.  I love her playing somebody’s mammy.  I’ve even gotten used to her as someone’s noisy neighbor.  But Waiting to Exhale is a Girlfriend movie.  Oprah is a powerhouse, not a chick – not a good fit. IMO.

  • NSimonefan

    It doesn’t matter that this movie was made 20 years ago.  In the minds of the many fans of this movie, Savannah and the other three characters are just as immortal as the four actresses who played those roles.  Having said that, I think that they should remove the Savannah character.  Just like I couldn’t picture anyone replacing Lela, Angela and Loretta, I couldn’t picture any actress replacing Whitney.

  • LisaLuvless

    Seeing that my other comment has to be approved I will only name who I think would be a better fit.
    Vanessa Williams,Wendy Racquel Robinson,Tasha Smith or Thandie Newton..

    • TalentTvForKids.com

       Vanessa Williams is perfect for this kind of cougar chick flick, or Vivica Fox even

      • LisaLuvless

        Can’t lie, I did think Vivica Fox and Jada Pinkett but both ladies took the plastic surgery too far it’ll just ruin the integrity of the role..for me at least.

    • Akosua123

      as in vanessa williams from Ugly Betty? ew no.

  • LisaLuvless

    Vanessa Williams,Wendy Racquel Robinson,Ms. Spicy Thandie Newton,or Tasha Smith… Heck anybody but the water buffalo Oprah.. Although I enjoyed Beloved and The Color Purple,I can’t see her portraying a flirty,loveable,genuine woman.

  • Ilove90’ssoulmusic

    I agree, no one can replace Savannah. It would be so hard watching the sequel to Waiting to Exhale without Whitney in it!

  • Guest1

    can we get some new, interesting, international faces, Samantha Mumba

  • RIP whitney

    *burst into tears*…NO! they can not replace savannah, even if whitney would have declined before her death..a new savannah would not look or feel right

  • Mia

    Regina King, Victoria Rowell, Lynn Whitfield, Debi Morgan, the brilliant Tyra Ferrell (miss seeing her on the screen). Any of these women would be plausible replacements, but Hollywood is so screwy Kim Kardashian might get signed to play the role.

    • latoya scott

      I like Regina King or Wendy Racquel but I agree, I don’t really even want to watch someone else playing Savannah’s role.  Whitney gave the character so much grace, I was in shock to even hear that Oprah was even a consideration.  Totally wouldn’t be a good move

  • Pumpkin28

    Not sure who can replace Whitney.  This movie was such a classic.  For now, I’d say just work around her character.  It’s 20 yrs. later anyway, so they can get as creative as possible.  If Monica (the singer) looked alittle older, she would be a good choice.  Can’t think of anyone else at the moment.

    • mdeborah827

      Monica would be a good choice actually. Maybe they can kill of the original Savannah character and pick up with a character that’s her sister/cousin.  

    • mdeborah827

      Monica would be a good choice actually. Maybe they can kill of the original Savannah character and pick up with a character that’s her sister/cousin.  

  • Emily

    can’t see Oprah doing it.  Maybe Wendy Raquel Robinson tho.  Still thinking…

    • TalentTvForKids.com

      I don’t know about Raquel