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It’s easy to confuse Rihanna and Whitney Houston’s personal lives — both launched their careers with a generic sweetheart persona until they met their respective Browns (Bobby, Chris), at which point both entered toxic relationships, both involving domestic abuse on the part of their bad-boy Brown and the subsequent abuse of furious tabloid exploitation.
Now, in Hollywood’s endless and tedious crusade to bring real-life events to the screen in as little time as possible, news has surfaced that Rihanna may play Whitney in a new biopic. Jennifer Hudson is another candidate, but her wholesomeness and general history of good choices (after all, she married this upstanding Harvard Law graduate), might work against her.
Clive Davis, Houston’s record label boss, has dodged attacks accusing him of milking /sentimentalizing Houston’s death: according to Davis, the biopic was in the works well before the singer died. In fact, weeks before, Brandy Norwood had rabidly expressed interest in playing Whitney, stating that she could out-Whitney all of the other contenders. (Unfortunately for Brandy, I was in Huggies the last time I or anyone else gave her any thought.)
The best option, of course, would be to please all of the hopeful actresses by doing the biopic à la I’m Not There, exploring the fluctuating identities of Whitney and possibly giving Billy Crystal the license to reprise his universally beloved blackface routine and serenade us with his otherworldly vocals.
Of course, "in the works" biopics are often just excuses for the public to challenge themselves with a trying game of "this living actress looks like that dead actress." If this follows the trend set by the infamous Janis Joplin debacle (wherein a parade of questionable choices ranging from Pink to Renee Zellweger to Amy Adams marched into the abyss of a yet-nonexistent biopic, and wherein a 30 Rock spoof called Jackie Jormp-Jomp was the closest the biopic ever came to being made), we’ll be seeing Jenna Maroney play Whitzey Herp Hump long before Rihanna gives us her Whitney impersonation.