Photo Credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage; Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic
There will never be another Whitney Houston, but Hollywood is looking for a star to recreate her magic on the silver screen. According to British newspaper The People, a Houston biopic has been in the works for some time, and Rihanna is a front-runner to play the recently deceased singer.
"Whitney knew about the project and was excited to see where it would lead," an insider tells The People. "It's hoped the biopic will be as successful as the 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."
The project is reportedly being helmed by Clive Davis, the record producer who discovered Houston as a teenager and mentored her throughout her career. Other candidates he's reportedly considering to play Houston include Jennifer Hudson, 30, Jordin Sparks, 22, Brandy, 33, and Vivica Fox, 47. All of these women have some connection to the real-life Whitney; Hudson sang a memorable version of "I Will Always Love You" at the Grammy Awards tribute, Sparks costars with Houston in the upcoming film Sparkle, and Fox was a longtime friend. However, only Brandy, Houston's costar in the 1997 TV movie Cinderella, (and sister to Houston's rumored flame Ray J) has explicitly said she'd love to play the part.
"My dream role would be to play Whitney Houston," Brandy told TruExclusives before Houston passed away. "I have her personality down pat, her 'isms' down pat. Like no offense ladies -- it's a lot of talented ladies there -- but nobody can play Whitney like me."
As for Rihanna, she has already turned down the Whitney Houston role in a remake of The Bodyguard, saying, "I hate it when singers do singing movies all the time, because you can never look at them as anybody else."
"I want to play a character," Rihanna told OK! magazine. "My whole life is playing Rihanna; being a singer won't be a stretch for me."
Willow Smith, 11, is reportedly being considered to play Houston as a child.
Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel bathtub on Jan. 11 at the age of 48. Though the cause of death is presumed to be prescription-drug-related, toxicology results are pending. Is it too soon for a movie about her life? Perhaps. But it could also be a lovely way to honor Whitney by remembering the best parts of her life, instead of her tragic death.