'Waiting to Exhale' Sequel Continues Despite Whitney Houston Loss
The sad, sudden death of Whitney Houston will not deter Fox from going forward with a sequel to the hit 1995 drama Waiting to Exhale.
"I don’t think she would want it to," Elizabeth Gabler, president of Fox 2000 Pictures, told the entertainment news website Vulture in an interview, explaining: "It’s almost in her honor that we think to soldier on."
Houston followed up her massive big-screen success on 1992's The Bodyguard with an ensemble role in Waiting to Exhale, co-starring alongside Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Gregory Hines. Forest Whitaker directed the film, based on Terry McMillan's novel, in which Houston portrayed a TV producer in love with a married man.
"We literally have not talked about anybody for that part," Gabler said. "Forest, I know, is just ... grieving. He’d been the one who was speaking with her, updating (Houston) on its progress."
Grossing $81.4 million worldwide, the movie was considered a success and a big draw for African-American women.
Fox scored the rights to a sequel soon after McMillan published her book, Getting to Happy, in September 2010.
Gabler said Whitaker will return to the director's chair, and that Fox 2000 was hiring a panel of screenwriters to work on a new script. (Lori Lakin had taken a stab at adapting Getting to Happy but her hands full with other commitments as a writer and producer for the VH1 series Single Ladies.)
In August, Sony will release Houston's final film, Sparkle, in which she plays the mother of a trio of singers with American Idol alum Jordin Sparks in the title role. It's a remake of the 1976 movie that was loosely based on The Supremes.
"This would have been a big, big comeback, she is so brilliant in it," Howard Rosenman, who is an executive producer on the new film, said of Houston's performance.
"I was just raving about her performance, she was so great in it. I'm just in shock," Rosenmen added.