Whitney Houston Biopic Actor Defends Lifetime Movie

6:27 AM PST 08/05/2014 by Hilary Lewis
AP Images
Arlen Escarpeta

UPDATED: Arlen Escarpeta insists that the upcoming project, directed by Angela Bassett, does justice to the late singer.

"Let her rest."

That was Whitney Houston's mother's message for the makers of the upcoming Lifetime biopic about her daughter.

But the actor who plays Bobby Brown in the Angela Bassett-directed TV movie told The Hollywood Reporter that while he understands where the late singer's family is coming from, he thinks the project honors her memory.

"I really do feel like it does do her justice, and at the same time, I do understand their reservations," Arlen Escarpeta told THR Monday night at the premiere of his new movie Into the Storm. "That's close to home. That's family. You have to respect family when it comes to matters of the heart. Respect to those guys absolutely. I understand that you do want to keep a bit of distance. If and when they do see the film, they'll see it came from a place of love."

He also thinks the Houston film turned out well, telling viewers, "Prepare yourself."

"Angela Bassett is such a phenomenal director … and to tell that story from the inside out was a pleasure," he said. We shot the film with love, we approached it with love and I really feel like we have something special there. Yaya [DaCosta, who's playing Houston] did a phenomenal job … I have no complaints. I'm truly head over heels just blessed and happy."

Into the Storm, New Line Cinema's found-footage tornado movie, marks Escarpeta's second time working with director Steven Quale, whose Final Destination 5 he also starred in.

He said it was helpful to have that familiarity with the director.

"It was cool as an actor to be shooting a movie within the actual movie," he said, adding that he learned something: "If I did a good enough job, some of my footage would end up in the movie."

Into the Storm hits theaters on Friday.

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