Sunday, February 25, 2018
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Angela Bassett is directing a Whitney Houston biopic

What's experience got to do with it? Apparently not much when you're former St. Petersburg resident and Oscar nominee Angela Bassett, directing for the first time.

Bassett, a 1976 graduate of Boca Ciega High School, was tapped Friday to direct a Whitney Houston biopic for the Lifetime channel, expected to air in 2015.

No announcement was made Friday regarding who will portray the pop music icon, who died in 2012 of an accidental drowning in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub, compounded by years of substance abuse and heart disease.

Bassett brings a unique perspective to the project, having won a Golden Globe and earning an Academy Award nomination for playing R&B legend Tina Turner in 1993's What's Love Got to Do with It? She also co-starred with Houston in 1995's Waiting to Exhale.

Perhaps more surprising than Bassett's hiring is how long it took for anyone to get a Whitney Houston production underway. It is likely that Houston's family and estate waited for the most sensitive possible depiction of the troubled star, after years of tabloid snark about her erratic behavior and mercurial relationship with her former husband, singer Bobby Brown. Bassett seems ready to be sympathetic.

"I have such regard for both Whitney's and Bobby's amazing talents and accomplishments; and I feel a responsibility in the telling of their story," Bassett said in a statement. "Their humanity and bond fascinates us all. I'm beyond excited to have this opportunity to go behind the camera and into their world."

-- Steve Persall, Times movie critic

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