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?”