All Articles Tagged "Angela Bassett"
An interesting element to Lifetime’s Whitney, which the storyline didn’t delve into too deeply, was the legendary singer’s relationship with lifelong friend Robyn Crawford. For years, there has been speculation that the two were a little more than friends. When addressed with questions about the nature of Crawford and Houston’s relationship, Whitney executive producer Angela Bassett insisted that she’s just as clueless about it as we are; however, she broached the subject with subtlety in the film, as the speculation was also part of the singer’s story.
“There always has been [rumors] and they still persist and I don’t know,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “But, there was always the speculation, so my thing was, let it remain. But it’d be however the audience sees it. If they read into it, that’s what they read into [regarding] their life – two women who are close and love each other and support one another.”
“I think what they had between them is a real, honest and fierce affection and caring for one another,” Bassett continued. “May we all have a friend who will fight for us.”
Apparently, she also wasn’t too interested in delving into Houston and Crawford’s relationship because the singer’s sexuality didn’t have much to do with the story that the production team sought to convey.
“[Whitney’s sexuality] really wasn’t that important,” Bassett said. “What was important to me was, they were good friends and they really cared about one another, and that’s a good thing. Now, whatever else you wanna read or tell or say–it’s good, it’s bad– it’s what you put on it.”
Interestingly, she shared that she’s no stranger to lesbian rumors, herself.
“Listen, it’s been said of me. I moved to LA and lived with a friend of mine who was an actress — I didn’t wanna live alone in this big town!” she laughed. “Then after a while there was speculation, and it was like, ‘Lord, let me get my own place!'”
Did the interactions between the twosome catch your attention while you were watching Whitney?
News that Lifetime and Angela Bassett would be collaborating on a biographical film about Whitney Houston was met with plenty of criticism and adversity. Considering that Angela knew the late singer personally, it had to be a pretty tough situation, especially since Whitney’s family was also against the project. Despite everything that was working against the actress-turned-executive-producer and her production team, Angela says that she eventually received a sign that told her she had Whitney’s blessing to move forward.
“Driving to work to the production office about 4-5 weeks before we started filming….we’re trying to get everything together with everyone who’s going to be filming with you,” the beauty explained during an appearance on “Live with Kelly and Michael.” “So I’m driving off the exit and her song immediately comes on. It comes on every day on the radio but it comes on at the exit. Traffic slows down and I see this huge bus passes by and on the back of it, I see this huge writing saying ‘WH’ and it’s in her favorite color, which is purple, which I read in her mother’s book. With her music playing, I see her initials, in her favorite color. I have trepidation, how will this play out in the end.”
Angela went on to say that the revelation made her quite emotional.
“We all have great hopes in the beginning. I just started crying–I’m glad I was at the exit because I couldn’t see–I was laughing like, ‘Okay girl, I hear you, I feel you, thank you, I know it’s going to be okay and it’s going to work out.’”
During another appearance on “Good Morning America,” Angela also opened up about how the time that she spent with the late singer on the set of Waiting to Exhale prepared her to take on this project.
“I was fortunate to be able to work with Whitney on ‘Waiting to Exhale’ and before I met her I was enthralled by her, by her gift, by her talent, but to work with her, be able to tell her that… to be able to observe her, work around her, observe her generosity, her regularness, her joy, her easy laughter…I thought that maybe that moment just prepared me or gave me insight to be able to tell part of her story.”
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“She Was Good To Me And I Tried To Be Good To Her.” Angela Bassett Talks Directing The “Whitney” Biopic
It seems like we’ve been waiting for quite some time for the Whitney Houston biopic to air. We have just about a week to go. And in anticipation of the biopic’s premiere, we spoke with the film’s director and Houston’s ‘Waiting to Exhale’ co-star, Angela Bassett. During our conversation, Bassett spoke passionately about everything, including what she learned working with Houston, not having the family’s support, why she felt this was the right story to tell and Whitney’s overall greatness.
How did you get involved with this project?
The executive producer Larry Sanitsky– we had done Betty and Coretta –we were having lunch and you finally get to ‘What are you working on?’ And he told me he was working on Whitney and looking for a director. And [asked] did I have any suggestions for him. And I was so excited about that. I remember two years previous, I was just disgusted to hear that they were discussing making a movie about her because she had just passed and it was just so heartbreaking. And I remember thinking, ‘Please, please. We just need time, time, time. I know we tell stories in Hollywood but you need time to get there.
So with the passage of two years I said, ‘I know someone will tell a beautiful story about this wonderful girl and I wish I could direct it. But I haven’t directed anything and, as you say, a lot of music is involved and that would be a big thing. That must be like shooting a sports movie, like shooting a concert. And so I tried to come up with some names for him later but he heard just the wishful phrase, “I wish I could direct it.” And I didn’t think he would do anything with that. That wasn’t my intention. Then he went away, did what he had to do, came back, called me. And I thought he was calling to say he’d found a director or did I want to go to this art dinner show and he said, “Would you be interested in directing it because you can. You wanna do it?”
From the moment that everyone heard about Lifetime’s plans to make a movie on Whitney Houston’s life, it has been well-known that Cissy Houston, Bobbi Kristina, and most of Whitney’s family, haven’t been enthused about the idea — even if Angela Bassett is at the helm. Last summer, Cissy Houston spoke out against it:
“In the two years since Whitney’s death [in 2012], 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.”
But despite such strong opinions against the movie from Cissy (and you know Bobbi Kristina acted a fool about the whole thing), Bassett still tried to reach out to members of the family so that they could be involved with it. Once they were finished filming, it was important for Bassett to have someone from Houston’s family view the biopic so that word could be spread throughout the family about it. So she contacted Dionne Warwick, the cousin of the late star. As Bassett told TheWrap during a screening in Beverly Hills on Tuesday:
“Well, I’ve spoken to Dionne. I was able to show it to her because I want Miss Cissy to see it.”
So Bassett screened the film for Warwick, and thankfully, the outcome was positive enough.
“This is their heart, so we don’t play with folks’ hearts. I was able to show Dionne, and it went very well. She appreciated it. So, now she can go and report to their auntie that we honored her.”
And even if Cissy isn’t a fan of it, or chooses to never watch the movie, Bassett says she doesn’t regret making it, especially since she says that she felt Whitney’s presence with her during filming.
“Never did I think, ‘I shouldn’t have done this.’ There might have been moments where you say, ‘How’s it going to come together? Will people receive it positively?’ But I really felt her presence, and I knew it would be OK.” Her spirit was with us.”
You can judge the film for yourself when it premieres on Lifetime next Saturday, at 8 p.m.
When Jada Pinkett-Smith shared the photo of her 61-year-old mother coming out of the water at a beach and I saw her abs glisten in the sunlight, I almost choked on my layered chocolate cake. I told myself after being inspired by her incredible body that after I finished said delectable cake (can’t be wasteful!) that I was going to get back on my workout grind this week so that when I turn 60 (God willing), I can look at least decent if I can’t look like Ms. Adrienne Banfield-Jones.
But with her in mind, here are 10 other women over 50 and 60 who inspire us to want to keep our bodies right and tight because they look oh so amazing.
Ladies and gents, take cover, because Angela Bassett is putting on a gun show! The 56-year-old actress has been flexing on folks since she showcased her toned form in What’s Love Got To Do With It? and she hasn’t missed a beat more than 20 years later.
Let’s be honest, after the Aaliyah biopic, Lifetime is not exactly in our good graces right now. So sad to say, the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic will be under even more scrutiny. And we love Angela Bassett around these parts, so we’re sincerely hoping she gets it right.
Today, Lifetime released the official air date for the biopic, simply titled: Whitney. It will air on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 8pm ET/PT. As you know the biopic is set to focus on the relationship between Whitney and her husband Bobby Brown.
There are certainly similarities between the two Lifetime movies. Like Aaliyah’s family, Whitney’s family is not necessarily behind it. While Bobbi Kristina wanted the lead role, Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother, believes Whitney should just be allowed to rest right now. And the estate didn’t grant Lifetime permission to use Whitney’s songs for the film.
But despite these hurdles, I’m still holding out hope. Because instead of having YaYa attempt to sing those iconic songs we all know and love, Lifetime enlisted the help of Deborah Cox to do the vocal work.
So it could very well work. And these pictures seem to suggest that it won’t be an all out debacle.
Immediately after the movie, Lifetime will air an hour-long documentary called Beyond the Headlines: Whitney Houston
Check out some more pictures from the set below and on the following pages.
Angela Bassett On Whether Or Not She Knew Whitney Houston Well Enough To Do The Biopic: “Who Does But The Person And The Lord They Serve?”
While chatting with HuffPost Live this week about all her new projects, including “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” Angela Bassett spoke in-depth about her connection to Whitney Houston and what people can expect from the biopic she directed for Lifetime about the music legend’s life–which is specifically about her relationship with Bobby Brown.
Bassett has received a lot of criticism for going forward with the film against the wishes of the family (and we know Bobbi Kristina felt some kind of way about not being cast to play her mom), specifically from Cissy Houston:
“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.”
But in her HuffPost Live chat, Bassett said that no one really knows a person intimately like that, aside from God, but that she and Whitney made quite the connection after doing Waiting To Exhale. For that reason, while she might not be the perfect person to tell such a story, she only has good intentions when it comes to her late friend:
“We worked together, Waiting To Exhale. There was hope that we would be able to do the sequel, but unfortunately there was her untimely passing…that made it really, really difficult to try figure out how to tell that story. But we had a wonderful time together. We were all so young, she was very young and at the top of the game and had a young daughter at the time. Bobbi Kristina could not have been 4 years old or maybe around that age around then. It was a delightful time and it was amazing to be around her. She had done “Bodyguard” and had broke through this glass ceiling of what a sista was paid, and what a woman was paid. I was mesmerized by her talent…we had a mutual admiration for each other. We were there for each other.”
So how does she feel about the criticism from Whitney Houston’s family?
“Well, I can understand. I consider it a gift that was given to me, the opportunity to tell the story and try to tell it with love, compassion and dignity and be concerned about it. Staying up all night just fretting and just caring for it and standing up for it. Taking whatever licks for it, because I, like everyone, adored her. At its core, it’s a love story. It’s a love between two individuals, a man and a woman. I did spend a little time [with] her, but to know her intimately, intimately — I mean, who does but the person and the Lord they serve? Who knows a person? But I know a little about being in the spotlight, a little about celebrity and its demands, a little about trying to find a mate and the support that’s needed in your industry — mine being acting, hers music industry. I think I know about being a woman, about being a black woman that came up in a little hometown … and yet you are able to become a success because of this God-given gift or talent. So I know a little bit about what it might have been like.”
But Bassett recently told Cosmo that she would like the family, both the Houstons and Bobby Brown and co., to see the film before it airs on Lifetime.
“But I do – I, personally – hope to present it to [them], allow them to see it before the world has an opportunity to see it. That’s my desire. Because this is not theater – this was a life. So, because it is going to be done, it is going to be seen, it’s done now. To me, that just shows respect.”
Are you here for the biopic? It’s finished, and will be coming to a TV screen near you sometime next year. Check out Bassett’s thoughts in full on her critics and on Whitney below. She talks about it around the 7:00 mark:
It’s no secret that Angela Bassett has been the killing the game, in more ways than one, for years now. Whether it’s the roles she plays or the seemingly effortless way she seems to glow on the red carpet, Ms. Bassett has been doing her thing for decades now, even though you might not be able to tell looking at her physical appearance.
The Emmy nominated actress recently spoke with digital magazine Violet Grey to explain her red carpet routine, share a few beauty and life gems she’s learned along the way and even pose for the camera.
Check out a few excerpts from the interview below:
V.G.: Getting ready for the red carpet is a ritual for many actresses. What is it like for you?
A.B.: My first question is always ‘Is my team available?’ I wish I could do all of this, but everyone has their gifts. Then I just sit there with my eyes closed. If I open them it’s only because I’m trying to get a few tips for myself!
V.G.: What kind of tips have you learned from your team?
A.B.: One thing that I’ve learned is don’t bring your false lashes all the way to the end of your eyes because it will bring your eyes down.
V.G.: How do you prepare for the red carpet in the days leading up to an award show?
A.B.: I try to watch my diet so I can fit into whatever I am wearing. Cut the sugar, the alcohol and the bread, and eat a lot of protein and veggies.
V.G.:Who makes a good date to an event?
A.B.: A friend or a sister. I mean, the husband is always great, but there is something about a girlfriend…
V.G.: Who does the red carpet well today?
A.B.: Cate Blanchett, Penélope Cruz, and, of course, Lupita [Nyong’o].
“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.