Whitney Houston had a career full of highs and lows, and while the singer was never one to shy away from controversy — she allowed fans an intimate look at her family life on the reality show Being Bobby Brown in 2005 — she also left a lasting impression on the music business that hasn’t waned since her death in 2012. Now, an Oscar-winning director has set his sights on the songstress for his next project, and it will reportedly premiere at Cannes this year.
Kevin Macdonald, who won an Oscar for a Munich Olympics documentary called One Day in September, is reportedly the only director allowed to shoot a documentary authorized by Houston’s estate, and he says he won’t only focus on the bright spots in Whitney’s life because he wants the story to be authentic. However, he acknowledges that Houston changed the face of pop music and was certainly one of the most successful artists the world has ever seen, with 200 million records sold worldwide and one of the biggest-selling soundtracks of all time (The Bodyguard).
“The story that is never told about Whitney is just how brilliant she was as an artist; by many measures she had the greatest voice of the last 50 years. She changed the way pop music was sung – bringing it back full circle to its blues and gospel roots. She was also completely unique in being a black pop star who sold in countries where black artists don’t traditionally sell,” Macdonald said. “We have access to never before seen footage of Whitney that charts her whole life from her beginnings singing in her church’s gospel choir, to the day of her tragic death and three decades of her music including demo recordings, rare performances and audio archive. Although we won’t shy away from the darker parts of Whitney’s life – her descent into addiction – I want audiences to walk out of the cinema and feel positive about Whitney and her music. I want to reveal a woman that even her most diehard fans never knew and a woman those new to her life and music will never forget.”
Houston’s life was complicated by a turbulent marriage to Bobby Brown as well as drug abuse, which contributed to her death, which was officially ruled accidental drowning, Houston was found to have atherosclerotic heart disease, and cocaine was determined to be a contributing factor.
The British production company Altitude — which was behind the engrossing Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy — will be involved in Houston’s story, as well. Amy is the highest-grossing British documentary of all time and brought in over $5 million in the U.K.
“Whitney’s story, brought to screen by Kevin Macdonald and this producing team, will make for a truly compelling theatrical event for audiences worldwide,” said Will Clarke, CEO of Altitude.
The doc will reportedly not include the tragic death of Whitney’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, who died tragically last year in eerily similar circumstances to her mother. Bobbi Kristina was found unresponsive in a bathtub in her home and was found to have several drugs in her system, which were ruled to have contributed to her death months later in a hospital. The autopsy report was released on what would have been her 23rd birthday, and the circumstances surrounding her death — including rumors that her boyfriend, Nick Gordon, was somehow involved — caused a media field day which led to strife between the Brown and Houston families. Bobby Brown released a statement, saying he was appalled by the efforts of the media to obtain the reports before the investigation into her death was complete.
“First and foremost, 23 years ago today, Bobbi Kristina was born. Krissy will always live in my heart and soul. I love my baby girl. For news affiliates to seek and obtain my daughter’s autopsy report, before anyone has been brought to justice for her death is mind-blowing to me. Please pray for my family.”
[Photo by George Rose/Getty Images]