Lifetime will be opening up the channel to ALL active DStv subscribers this weekend. The top highlight will be the premiere of Whitney, the movie, plus more programming concentrating on her life.

Q&A with the director of the Whitney biopic, Angela Bassett

Q. What was the main inspiration between your decision to tell the story of the love between Bobby and Whitney?

Who we love and how we do so, says a great deal about who we are and what we need. Being scrutinized for your choice can’t be an easy feat, especially as one attempts to navigate the mountainous demands of great celebrity. 

Q.   Would you say this was quite an emotional journey for you, given your personal relationship with Whitney Houston?

Yes, it was emotional. I think I express a universal sentiment that she was taken too soon and too

unexpectedly.  I wanted to tell her story, faults and all, in a way that honors her womanhood and humanity. 

Q.      What would you regard to be the highlight of working on this project?

The highlight of this project was mining the best of everyone’s individual talent in front and behindthe camera in order to bring a quality piece to a waiting audience of admirers, fans, and viewers.

Q.      Which were the major challenges you encountered?

Every day had its unique challenges for sure. But getting the musical score just right was certainly one. We were at one point working with a songwriter in Sweden by Skype with a 12-hour time difference. Our 3pm was his midnight hour. Or, attempting to make 15 extras look and feel like hundreds or 150 like thousands. Also once we figured out that “I’m Every Woman” would in essence represent being on a world tour, we shot it over and over, changing costumes and wigs for everyone. Fortunately, it’s a song you never grow tired of hearing and Deborah Cox’s

vocals were everything I hoped and dreamed they would be…perfection.

Q.    Which moment in the film are you most proud of and why?

I am extremely proud of the musical numbers because Whitney is defined by her impeccable vocal chops. If we did not get that right then what would have been the point? I’m also proud that I was able to film her fragility, sensuality and foilbles in an honest, yet tasteful manner. And beyond a doubt, that I was able toaddress questions that the public has guessed at and 

speculated on for decades about the influence of Bobby Brown on her life choices.

Q.    If you had to pick three words to summarise the film, what would they be and why?

“All About Love”…because at the end of day, the end of our lives, when it truly is all said and done, the only thing that matters is, did you show love?Did you show love to others? Did you express it through your gifts, talents and abilities? Were you able to ward off the forces that came against youattempting to steal, kill, and destroy real, selfless, lasting, God-inspired love? Not lust…LOVE

Q.     What were the key messages/ themes you wanted to bring across in this film?    

Life is a beautiful thing, and love and communion with each other is what we are destined for. But decisions, big and small, play a huge part in how successful we are in this life. There’s a lilsermon I wrote and actually voiced in the movie that in essence speaks to the truth that we are not perfect. That we all, each one of us have our issues to work out, hopefully privately, so that we are able to live as beautiful a life as we can imagine for ourselves. It takes work, and it takes being truthful and courageous.

Q.      How do you expect South African audiences will react to the film and why?

I think South African audiences will love the movie because of their love for Whitney. She is their

daughter and sister. As am I. As are all the beautiful faces playing across the screen. We are of each other.

Q.    Are you willing to give us a sneak-peek in to what your next major project will be?

I’m off to London in a few weeks to film London Has Fallen. But be sure to look out for the action thriller “Survivor” along with “American Horror Story.”

Whitney airs on DStv on Sunday the 22nd on Lifetime at 6pm

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