Monday, June 17, 2024

Clive Davis Says Whitney Houston BioPic is Moving Forward with Financing Closed and Anthony McCarten Screenplay Done


I told you back on November 26, 2019 exclusively that Anthony McCarten was writing the screenplay for the official Whitney Houston biopic.

On Saturday night, Whitney’s close friend, mentor, and advisor, as well as record producer Clive Davis commented on the Richard Weitz Quarantunes Zoom show the screenplay was done, and financing was in place for the film. Clive will executive produce.

Today on SiriusXM’s Clay Cane Show, Davis reiterated the Whitney news. He said: “I have just closed the deal with Anthony McCarten, who was the writer of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘The Two Popes’…this is the full Biopic of Whitney Houston, where, yes, we will graphically and honestly tell the story of her fight and battle against drug addiction, but we will also show why she was loved by millions. We will also show a musical genius and we will also show insights as to her dreams for herself. So that has just been closed. We break the financing for Whitney’s Biopic, and we’re really literally this week out to the studios for distribution.”

Clive also talked about his history with black music and how he managed to get R&B records “broken” on Top 40 radio without waiting to cross over from black radio. This is true, but he really did this when he brought Philadelphia International into Columbia Records in the early 70s. He also broke Earth Wind & Fire as a pop act. Don’t forget, “Shining Star” and “That’s the Way of the World” came straight to WABC back in those days.

He told Clay: “African American artists, black artists had to prove themselves in and with R&B stations before they ever had a shot at going in Top 40. Now, the reason that that’s relevant, is that the big money to these artists came with a quote pop record. And, I didn’t like that sort of racial approach that if you were African American, you could not go to a Top 40 first..I believe music is universal and I’ve felt very sympathetic to those African American orders that were only limited to R&B because they didn’t make great money..”

Clive gives some props to Sean Puffy Combs, but it was Clive at Arista who really used his successful Columbia formula that put hip hop on top 40, just the way he’d done for all those Philly artists– The O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, etc. We have so much of “classic soul” from the 70s because of Clive Davis. He likes to say songs are “great copyrights.” But they’re really just great records that have been as Clive would say ‘the soundtrack of our lives.’


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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