Saturday, June 15, 2024

Exclusive: Whitney Houston Biopic Will Be Written by Anthony McCarten of “Bohemian Rhapsody” Fame and “The Two Popes”


Ever since “Bohemian Rhapsody” made $700 million all the rock stars or their estates want biopics.

Now I’m told that Anthony McCarten, who wrote the Queen-Freddie Mercury hit, is working on a Whitney Houston screenplay for her estate. Sources say talks have been going on for a while.

McCarten’s work is about to be seen and heard in “The Two Popes,” one of the 10 best movies of this year. He should get an Oscar nomination for a phenomenal screenplay.

McCarten was also recently announced as working on a screenplay about the BeeGees for Paramount. It’s a good idea but may be harder to tackle than a Whitney Houston saga.

Whitney’s story is more straightforward, and a little like Mercury’s. If McCarten is allowed to tell the real story — including material from Robyn Crawford’s new memoir– then he’ll have a hell of a movie.

What’s complicated is that Whitney’s estate may want to follow the story of Kevin McDonald’s documentary, “Whitney,” which they produced. The doc contained an accusation against Whitney’s late cousin, singer Dee Dee Warwick, of abuse. Warwick is dead and can’t defend herself. Her sister, the famed singer Dionne Warwick, denied the accusations. There’s scant proof. A depiction of that would be very wounding for the Houston-Warwick extended families.

But if McCarten sticks to the music and the performances, a la “Bohemian Rhapsody,” plus the descent into drugs, Bobby Brown, and so on, there’s a great movie. And who will play Whitney? A close associate of the late singer told me: “I hope it’s an unknown actress.”

And the title? Oh come, it writes itself: “I Will Always Love You.” Did you need to ask?

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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