All Articles Tagged "Angela Bassett"
“Looking Like Bobby Is Not My Goal, Being Bobby Is My Goal” Arlen Escarpeta Talks Role In The Whitney Houston Biopic
When pictures of Yaya DaCosta and Arlen Escarpeta as Whitney and Bobby surfaced, people had all types of things to say. There were comments that Arlen looked too nice and decent to play Bad Boy Bobby, or too attractive. There were even people who said he looked gay. But more than anything people wondered, where is the gap?
Well, honey we’ve got answers for you. We had the chance to speak to Mr. Escarpeta about his experience working on the upcoming Lifetime movie, the Houston family’s objections, including Bobbi Kristina’s rant, his response to the backlash and why he was missing Bobby’s signature gap.
See what he had to say below.
What initially influenced you to go after this role?
The initial audition was clearly something that everyone went out for. Clearly, Angela as a director is something that immediately pulls you in. She’s going to draw a lot of actors being such a tremendous actress herself. And then you know Bobby and Whitney’s story. I grew up listening to Bobby Brown. And being able to play him from the inside out, versus from the media standpoint, from the outside in, I think that’s what pulled me in initially.
Were you a Bobby Brown fan?
Definitely. I entered a dance contest when I was younger. “Every Little Step I Take,” Tenderoni,” you can go down the list. Bobby Brown, he was the man when I was growing up. So, absolutely.
How did you prepare? Did you get insight on what Bobby was like off stage.
There wasn’t much support from the family in regards to that. So what I did was try to watch as many interviews as I could with Bobby and Whitney together or just Whitney talking about Bobby, Bobby talking about himself, picked up a couple of books and tried to get as much insight as I could from that standpoint. And then the other thing that I did was really get behind Bobby and Whitney’s love for one another. I think that was really the mainstay for Bobby’s character. You know, hone in on that passion, that love that they have for one another.
Did you have any reservations about doing the film without the support of Whitney’s family?
Not many reservations, if any at all because I trust Angela as a director. And I know that if it wasn’t something that was going to be done with class and with respect, she wouldn’t have her name on it. If it wasn’t someone that I knew and that I trusted in that way, then I would have probably felt some type of way about it. But Angela being the upstanding and classy person and actress that she is–with Angela at the captain’s table I didn’t have any reservations as far as that was concerned.
How was Angela Bassett as director?
There were no days off. Everyday, she asked and she pulled and she wanted something from me. She wanted to feel and know that you understood who you were playing and to give it every single day. And that was a treat. Every single day, I learned something different. I learned something different about myself as an actor, something different about Bobby, something different about Whitney. There were so many days of discovery, just different pieces of the puzzle that all came together. And I attribute that to Angela because she was really, really, really one of the catalysts that pulled and pushed this whole thing forward. And I feel that any of the actors that worked with her would give her her credit in that regard.
What did you think about Bobbi Kristina’s comments against Angela Bassett?
Oh yeah I read what she said. I didn’t pay to much attention to it at all because honestly, she’s coming from a place of passion, she’s coming from a place of love. She loves, loves loves her mother, like any child would. It’s completely understandable. I’m certain if there was a place for her to be a part of the film, in front of the camera, I’m certain Angela would have found it for her. But given our schedule, the shooting schedule and exactly what Angela wanted…unfortunately it didn’t work out. If she brought something to the table that Angela thought she could have really, really utilized I’m certain she would have been there.
But then at the same time, you also have to ask yourself, certain times when it comes to films or tv shows, whatever, sometimes someone can be too close to the project or too close to the person and that can create an issue as well. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out but much respect to Bobbi Kristina, I more than understand where she was coming from, absolutely.
Have you received any backlash for this part?
I didn’t receive any personal backlash. There were a couple of tweets here and there. Some people didn’t think I looked like Bobby, which is fine I’m an actor. It’s not my job to look like Bobby, it’s not a look-a-like contest. Looking like Bobby is not my goal, being Bobby is my goal. A little bit of backlash here and there. A lot of people saying I look gay in the picture…You know, it’s fine. I take it all in stride. For me, it’s par with the course. When you’re playing someone as iconic as Bobby Brown, you have to expect that there’s going to be some type of backlash or something specific that people are looking for. All I can say is, when the film comes out, take a look and then we can talk then.
Do you have someone singing for you, like Deborah Cox is singing, as Whitney, for Yaya DaCosta?
I’m not doing the singing myself. There’s a gentlemen by the name of Carlos Battey. He’s from a writing group called The Jackie Boyz. He covered “Every Little Step I Take.” I had a good time with it. I got to dance, I got to sing. I got to wear some of the loudest suits I’ve ever worn in my life. It was a good time. I got to go to dance rehearsal. I got to work with Fatima Robinson and her team of choreographers it was an amazing experience.
Please tell me that you sang “Something In Common”
We alluded to it. In regards to some of the music clearances, we couldn’t do as much as we wanted to. We got to where we needed to be and I think that people who know the song will get it, but we didn’t get to go through the whole song, no.
So tell us why didn’t you have the gap?
The gap is definitely Bobby. Everybody knows Bobby for his gap. Unfortunately, with our shooting schedule, there’s a time constraint. And you know for a dental mold that would actually fit in my mouth properly, allow me to still act, allow me to still be able to lip synch and do all these different things, it just didn’t come into play. They played with a couple of different pieces and neither of those pieces really stood out and looked real enough. And at some point, the producers and myself and Angela as well, we agreed that it’d be best to go without the gap for the simple fact that if it’s going to look that bad and that not real, that would be even more of a disservice than not having the gap at all. And the acting has to come first. So if I can look like Bobby, like we were talking about before, but can’t play the part, that just wouldn’t work.
I look forward to hearing what people have to say and what they think. It was an amazing time, it was an amazing opportunity and you know, onwards and upwards.
The biopic won’t air until next year, so in the meantime, be sure to look out for Arlen in the new film “Into The Storm” in theaters August 8.
Despite the dissension from Cissy Houston and Bobbi Kristina, the Whitney Houston biopic is a go. And if you don’t believe me, you need look no further than the recent behind the scenes interview Entertainment Tonight conducted with director Angela Bassett, star Yaya DeCosta and vocalist Deborah Cox.
During the interview, Entertainment Tonight asked Bassett how she felt about Bobbi Kristina’s Twitter rant against her for not casting her in the film. Bassett, always a class act, said she understood where Bobbi Kristina was coming from.
“I respect anyone’s feelings and truths. So I mean, I can understand it. I can understand it. She adores her mother. And in this process, I lost my mother so I get it. And I love Bobbi Kristina.”
About all the controversy, Bassett said while she was prepared for it, she hasn’t allowed it to get to her.
“With great opportunity there will be criticism, so you learn to expect that but you what you don’t need is to be going out looking for naysayers. You know, you have a job to do.”
And Yaya, who I thought was Whitney on first glance, shared a similar sentiment when she learned she had earned the role.
“I kind of shut off all social media because I didn’t want to be distracted by the, you know, the expectations, you know the naysayers.”
Good thing, because there’s been quite a bit.
Check out the video of Yaya in action below.
From what you saw, what do you think about Yaya as Whitney? And then just go ahead and confirm how classy Angela Bassett is for handling Bobbi Kristina’s comments with such grace. She is a better woman than I.
We could only assume that the Houston family didn’t support Lifetime making a Whitney Houston biopic. The family was not a part of the process and had not signed over any rights allowing the production to use her recordings. And then there was that very unbecoming outburst from Bobbi Kristina (for which she later apologized) in reference to Angela Bassett not considering her for the role of her mother.
Well now, Cissy Houston is stepping forward with a statement of her own regarding the biopic. And to put it simply, she’s not happy.
“Lifetime has chosen to go ahead with the movie about Whitney in spite of my family’s objections. No one connected with this movie knew Whitney or anything about her relationship with Bobby.
In the two years since Whitney’s death, many people have stepped forward to speak about their close relationship with her. I find it difficult to believe people who knew and supposedly loved her would participate in a movie about her done by folks who didn’t know her.
We are exhausted by the continuing misinformation and comments offered by people who did not know her. Please, please let her rest.”
Wow. It’s hard to read this and not take it as a direct jab to Angela Bassett, who is serving as director for this movie. We all know that she and Whitney famously worked on Waiting to Exhale together but it seems Cissy doesn’t feel that was enough to make a movie about her daughter.
Without the family’s approval, do you think that Lifetime should proceed with the film?
The first image of Whitney and Bobby together for the Lifetime biopic has been released. As we reported earlier, Belizean actor Arlen Escarpeta earned the role of Brown, starring alongside Yaya DaCosta who will play Whitney Houston.
Personally, I think the casting is pretty spot on. It would be impossible to find someone who looks exactly like Brown but this is pretty close. The hair is everything.
One of my coworkers argued that he looks too clean cut but back in the ’90′s Bobby Brown was a bit more clean cut than he is now. Some you all recall the days when he was the ultimate bad boy sex symbol.
But let us know what you think about this casting. Does it work for you?
And in other Whitney biopic news, Angela Bassett posted an open casting call on her Twitter account, inviting anyone in LA who would like to come and be an extra in the biopic to show up for food and fun.
— Angela Bassett (@ImAngelaBassett) July 14, 2014
We imagine they’ll probably be in a concert scene.
The biopic, which Bassett mentioned will be shot in 21 days, will be released early next year.
Are you still feeling good about it?
Bobbi Kristina Apologizes For Calling Angela Bassett A Manly B-Word, But Says Bassett Was Disrespectful Too
We told you earlier this week that after Angela Bassett explained why she didn’t pick Bobbi Kristina to play Whitney Houston in the biopic Bassett is working on for Lifetime (because BK is not a trained actress…made sense to me), Bobbi Kristina tried to take a shot at the Academy Award nominee and acting legend.
“Ha! Ms. Ang “basket case” has such a damn nerve. My Lord, at the least the world doesn’t mistake me for the wrong sex. She has #XTRAequipment.”
“When I win my first Grammy or Oscar, *Shrugs* hmm whichever comes 1st, I’ll be sure 2 shout UR name out b**ch ! hah Ur Test Results= MALE. Lmao”
Yes, it was quite the immature response. And Bobbi Kristina must have realized that she was way too into her feelings, because she decided to take to Twitter yesterday to apologize for talking crazy about Bassett, and to also vow to make her late mother proud.
“I’m a young women that can admit her wrongs. 4who was offended I apologize BUT understand me before your quick to judge though. ThankU”
“I will celebrate your life , I will celebrate you, I will carry you on, I will make you proud, I will love & cherish you mylady”
“No matter what, I will continue to stand my ground as a young women. One thing you CAN depend on is My mother taught me well”
But Bobbi Kristina also took some time to chat with followers about feeling that the way Bassett spoke about not picking her to play Whitney for the movie was kind of disrespectful. BK says she’s the bigger person because she publicly apologized for her words:
What do you think of Bobbi Kristina’s apology? And was Bassett a little hard on her by speaking about Bobbi’s acting abilities in public instead of addressing her first? Talk about it below.
Bobbi Kristina Goes After Angela Bassett For Biopic Casting Decision: ‘At Least The World Doesn’t Mistake Me For The Wrong Sex’
We seriously doubt that Angela Bassett intended to be shady when she expressed why Bobbi Kristina was not considered by casting directors to star in the biopic about her late mother’s life. But unsurprisingly, the 20-year-old aspiring singer and actress certainly took it that way. In case you missed it, Angela, who’s directing the anticipated bio film, recently shared why producers didn’t really think to have Krissy audition for the film and her primary reason was that she is not a professional actress.
“I did not think about that. I did not think about casting her,” Angela told Entertainment Weekly. “And probably for a number of reasons, you know. One being that she’s not an actress. I know she’s acted here and there. I know she’s been on their family’s reality show, but she’s not an actress and acting is a craft. It’s an attempt to illuminate the complexities of human behavior and life. And this is a very fast-paced schedule; we have just 21 days to tell this story. It’s more than just saying lines and turning the light on. You have to drive the story—there’s a technical aspect.”
As you may recall, when news of the Lifetime biopic first broke, Krissy expressed that she should’ve been cast to play her mother. Angela’s response seemed pretty reasonable and quite understandable. However, to a person aspiring to be an actress, we can also see how her response could have been perceived as a tad bit slighting. Krissy took to Twitter shortly after Angela’s interview went viral and shared a few choice words regarding the comments.
“Ha! Ms. Ang “basket case” has such a damn nerve,” the former reality star tweeted. “My Lord, at the least the world doesn’t mistake me for the wrong sex. She has #XTRAequipment.”
“When I win my first Grammy or Oscar, *Shrugs* hmm whichever comes 1st, I’ll be sure 2 shout UR name out b**ch ! hah Ur Test Results= MALE. Lmao”
Tough girl act aside, it appears that Krissy’s feelings may have been a little hurt by Angela comments. We don’t anticipate that Angela will be responding to her attack anytime soon—or ever for that matter.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise
‘She’s Not An Actress:’ Angela Bassett Explains Why Bobbi Kristina Was Not Cast In The Whitney Houston Biopic
Lifetime seems to be one huge nest of controversy these days. In addition to receiving backlash over their forthcoming Aaliyah biopic, they’re also facing quite a bit of criticism regarding their film about the life of iconic singer Whitney Houston. The film’s director, Academy Award-nominated actress Angela Bassett, recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about all of the hoopla, and she says she’s not really affected by negative things being said or written about the project.
“It would [affect me] if I read it,” the 55-year-old beauty explained. “I’m sure if it would if I read it, because I’m a feeling person. But I don’t read it, because I want to stay in this place where I’m working with folk who have come to the table and care about this person. And it’s just not by and large another job. We care about the humanity of this woman and man, telling their story. I know it was going to be told, so I’m so humbled that it was put in my hands to tell it. So I’m going to protect it to the best of my abilities. I’m not going to read those negative comments because everyone has something to say.”
The film will center around Whitney’s relationship with former husband, R&B bad boy Bobby Brown, which is arguably one of the most “controversial aspects” of the late singer’s life.
“I reflect it back on the moment I first saw them together,” Angela reminisced. “It was when I was doing ‘Exhale.’ We were all on set in the living room together and [Bobby] came to visit. I, like everyone else, had some preconceived idea … people just looked at a photograph or picture of them together and thought ‘They’re incongruous.’ ‘They don’t go together.’ ‘Why is she with him?’ I think that was usually the question, not ‘Why is he with her?’ They could imagine her with someone else who does something else, who carries himself [differently], who looks somehow different.
“We didn’t see any commonality between them and we, having nothing to do with their lives, [shared] our opinions and perception. We didn’t do it with anyone else, very few people. So that’s enormous. But that moment I had, where he visited the set, he made a very strong impression on me.”
The couple’s battle with substance abuse will also be present in the film.
“Well, we know that drugs were a part of their story and that’s certainly an element of their story. We can’t tell their story without that. It’s involved, and I hope we can unpack it gently.”
Unlike the Aaliyah biopic, which will feature re-recorded versions of the deceased singer’s most popular hits, Angela says producers didn’t face any trouble securing Whitney’s music for the movie. However, as we’ve previously reported, Whitney’s family isn’t actually on board with the project.
“They’re not participating,” the iconic actress explained. “We reached out to them in the early days; of course we’re not going to do the movie and not say anything to them. You can if you’re using public domain, but that’s not our desire. We paid our respects and let the conversation be had, just to get their okay. They certainly could have been not involved and against it.”
The film, however, will not address the singer’s untimely passing.
“That’s one of the things I do appreciate about the story at least, with this first story about her. We’re not interested in dragging her life again through, you know, the muck. She had to play out her choices, and the consequences of them, in a very hot, glaring spotlight, but we’re not interested in dragging that through again.”
She adds that if the script did include Whitney’s death, she wouldn’t have agreed to do the project.
“That’s one reason why I’m on board. Otherwise, you walk away. You walk away from it. It’s not worth it to me. Not as a black woman to do that to the life of another black woman, who was amazing and lovely.”
As far as casting goes, Angela says that she never really considered casting Whitney’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina. You may recall that Krissy came forward and said that she should’ve been cast in the film.
“I did not think about that. I did not think about casting her. And probably for a number of reasons, you know. One being that she’s not an actress. I know she’s acted here and there. I know she’s been on their family’s reality show, but she’s not an actress and acting is a craft. It’s an attempt to illuminate the complexities of human behavior and life. And this is a very fast-paced schedule; we have just 21 days to tell this story. It’s more than just saying lines and turning the light on. You have to drive the story—there’s a technical aspect.”
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise
“That’s MY Mother”: Bobbi Kristina, Like The Rest Of The Houston Family, Isn’t Happy About Whitney Houston Lifetime Movie
We told you last week that Lifetime announced that Angela Bassett would be directing a TV movie based on Whitney Houston’s life, called Whitney Houston. Because the two were friends, it sounded like a nice idea to us, but to the family of Houston? Not so much. As we told you a few days ago, former manager and sister-in-law Pat Houston told TMZ, “Whitney is certainly worthy of more than a television movie.”
And now, Bobbi Kristina has spoken up too, doing so on Memorial Day to say that out of respect, the movie shouldn’t be done. She also says that the only person who could ever play Whitney and do her justice, is Bobbi Kristina herself. Check out what she had to say on Twitter, and read from the bottom up.
I Definitely think that any films about the lives of public figures should be approved by the people who know them best, their family, just out of respect. But I do think that with Angela Bassett behind the camera, Whitney’s story would be told honestly, but in a positive manner. But what do you think? Do you agree with Pat? Do you agree with Bobbi? Do you think Bobbi Kristina would do a good job portraying her mother? Or is a biopic too much too soon? Talk about it below.
Many of you were saddened or relieved to hear that the Waiting to Exhale sequel was dead in the water without Whitney Houston. But just because she won’t be returning to the screen in this way, she will be coming to the small screen in a sense. Lifetime recently announced that Angela Bassett is set to direct a television movie titled simply, Whitney Houston.
We all knew that a Whitney biopic was coming. And many of us had our doubts; but it provides some comfort knowing that Bassett, someone who knew and worked with Whitney extensively, will be the one entrusted to tell her story.
Since their days on the set of Waiting to Exhale, Bassett has always spoken fondly of Houston and vice versa.
Making her directorial debut the Bassett-directed tv movie is scheduled to premiere in 2015 and according to Lifetime, it will center around “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. Throughout it all, difficulties followed the superstar couple while they dealt with the overwhelming rewards and consequences of the fame and fortune created by Whitney’s meteoric rise that would soon overshadow them both.”
Wow. So we’re wondering what Bobby has to say about all of this and whether or not he’ll approve of the depiction of himself in the final product. But Bassett is not here to slander anyone’s name.
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,” 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.”
I must admit, I’m really excited to see what she does with this.
Are you ready for a Whitney Houston biopic? Will you tune in?
By the way check out this very cute, nostalgic clip of Houston and Bassett on the set of Waiting To Exhale.
“It’s Been Horrible Since Whitney Passed Away”: Terry McMillan Says “Waiting To Exhale” Sequel Is “Dead In The Water”
If you’ll recall, back in 2010, Fox acquired the rights to make a sequel to Waiting To Exhale, which was filmed in 1995. And even after the death of Whitney Houston in 2012, in 2013 Angela Bassett claimed the film, which would have been based on the actual sequel to the book Waiting To Exhale, called, Getting To Happy, was still in the works and that the big holdup was trying to figure out what to do with Houston’s character of Savannah:
“They’re still writing. One of our original producers, from the first Exhale, is on board. So that’s a good sign, but they’re still working on the script. It’s just how to deal with it [Whitney’s loss]. And probably the best way to deal with it is just deal with it. It’s like what happens in life, in a way. Life is about life in passing, living and dying, winning and losing. So that’s what I know so far.”
Fox 2000 Pictures President Elizabeth Gabler even claimed that Houston would want the movie to be made, saying, “It’s almost in her honor that we think to soldier on.”
But the author of the uber-popular book, Terry McMillan, tells Sister 2 Sister that there’s no soldiering on going on. In fact, she doesn’t think the sequel is going to make it at this point because of behind-the-scenes struggles.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen. I really don’t. It’s been horrible since Whitney passed away for a whole lot of reasons. Fox wanted to basically eliminate that character altogether from the story. How they thought that was going to work, I don’t know.
As much as I loved Whitney and I loved her in that role…any time they can have seven different 007s, as iconic as Whitney was and still was, it was a role. It wasn’t Whitney Houston; it was Savannah; you know what I mean.[sic] I still think that Viola Davis would have done and could do a great job playing Savannah.
They got somebody else to write the script. There have been two or three drafts, but it just wasn’t working.
It was a story that I thought was more compelling than trying to compete with the predecessor. That’s Hollywood. I think it’s kinda dead in the water.”
Do you think the character of Savannah should have just been cast with someone new, like a Viola Davis, instead of trying to eliminate her? Or do you think trying to film a sequel in general after Houston’s death was just a bad idea?