By Teryl Warren

Golden Globe® Award winner and Academy Award® nominee Angela Bassett makes her directorial debut with the Lifetime Original Movie Whitney, featuring Yaya DaCosta (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) in the lead role with Arlen Escarpeta (Final Destination 5) alongside her as Bobby Brown. The much-anticipated world premiere will be on Saturday, January 17, 2015, at 8pm ET/PT.

While the woman widely known as the greatest voice of her generation certainly lived a life filled with fodder for a film, Bassett’s take on the pop legend’s life focuses specifically on the love story between Houston and R&B bad boy Bobby Brown.

Yaya DaCosta as Whitney Houston - Photo by Jack Zeman

Specifically, it focuses on the good times – before the court cases, the jail time and that ill-advised reality series that many Whitney fans would rather forget.

So, what exactly can viewers expect to see onscreen? Whitney – at her most beautiful, her most popular, and, likely, during one of the happiest periods in her life.

The film chronicles the headline-making relationship between the iconic singer, actress, producer and model Whitney Houston and singer and songwriter Bobby Brown from the time they first met at the very height of their celebrity to their courtship and tumultuous marriage.  Throughout it all, difficulties followed the superstar couple while they dealt with the overwhelming rewards and consequences of the fame and fortune created by Houston’s meteoric rise that would soon overshadow them both.

Da Costa does a solid job of portraying one of the most beloved artists in recent memory, while Arlen Escarpeta offers the sort of sensitive and romantic rendering of Bobby Brown that has rarely been depicted in popular media.

The genius move that Bassett and her team made was, of course, in tapping Grammy®-nominated and multiplatinum-selling powerhouse vocalist Deborah Cox to dub the vocals for the film. With the styling of Yaya Da Costa and the soaring sounds of Cox, Bassett, at times, comes as close as probably anyone could to recreating the magic that was Whitney.  The music featured in the film includes Houston’s hits “The Greatest Love of All,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” “I’m Every Woman” and “I Will Always Love You” as well as Brown’s “Every Little Step.”

Yaya Da Costa and Arlen Escarpeta as Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown - Photo by Jack Zeman

Overall, Bassett’s treatment of the Houston-Brown relationship is tasteful, respectful and will likely satisfy fans who sincerely hope to preserve the positive aspects of Houston’s tremendous legacy.

Produced by The Sanitsky Company, Whitney is executive produced by Larry Sanitsky (Betty & Coretta). Shem Bitterman (Betty & Coretta) wrote the script.

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