Just two weeks after Whitney Houston died unexpectedly in a Beverly Hills hotel room, mentor Clive Davis is reportedly putting together a biopic about the troubled star's extraordinary and turbulent life.
According to the Daily Mail, Rihanna and Jennifer Hudson are on the shortlist for the starring role, with Vivica Fox, Jordan Sparks, and Brandy also in the running. According to the UK-based People news, Will Smith's daughter Willow is being considered to play the young Whitney Houston.
Hudson is probably best qualified for the starring role: She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Effie White in Dreamgirls, and she showed off her acting chops again in Sex and the City. The former American Idol finalist has also proven she can carry a Houston tune: Hudson wowed audiences with a tribute performance of I Will Always Love You at the 2012 Grammy Awards; in 2010, Hudson performed that same song at the late singer's BET Honors ceremony, with Houston cheering her on from the front row.
But someone might want it more. Not long before Whitney's death, Brandy -- the sister of Houston's on-again-off-again boyfriend, Ray J. -- had said that her dream was to play the singer.
My dream role is to play Whitney Houston, Brandy reportedly said. Of course she would have to sing all the songs . . . but I would Love to play Ms. Whitney. I have her entire personality down pat, her isms down pat. Like no offence ladies, there's a lot of talented ladies out there but nobody can play Whitney Houston like me.
In contrast to Brandy's bold statement, Rihanna might need some convincing.
I hate it when singers do singing movies all the time, because you can never look at them as anybody else, Rihanna reportedly told OK magazine, after turning down the chance to star in a remake of The Bodyguard.
I want to play a character. My whole life is playing Rihanna; being a singer won't be a stretch for me.
Though Clive Davis reportedly wants to fast track the project, a biopic had been in the works while Houston was still alive.
Whitney knew about the project and was excited to see where it would lead, a source told People news.
It's hoped the biopic will be as successful as Tina Turner movie 'What's Love Got To Do With It,' which landed two Oscar nominations for Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne who played Tina and Ike Turner.
Notably, Bassett did not do her own singing in What's Love Got To Do With It. According to Entertainment Weekly, Houston was first offered the role but turned it down because she was pregnant.
Commenters to the EW article sounded off on the casting rumors.
The only thing Rihanna and Whitney Houston have in common is their bad choice in men, wrote one. Let a respectable, up and coming unknown actress play Whitney Houston.
A biopic reportedly in the works, already??? Whitney's grave is barely even cold. Damn, Hollywood! wrote another.
Let's lip sync and have Zoe Saldana do it, please, wrote another. Thanks.
At the time of her death, Houston had recently completed filming Sparkle. According to TMZ, producers are rushing to get the completed film to theaters as soon as possible.