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Whitney Houston doc on the way from Oscar-winning director

whitney houston documentary in the works from oscar winners
Debby Wong /
Whitney Houston, hailed until her death in 2012 as one of the most talented vocalists to ever walk the face of the Earth, will be getting what looks to be an extremely well-made documentary about her complicated life.

The new film, which is the first work about the singer to be officially authorized by her estate, will be directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void, The Last King of Scotland, One Day in September). But Macdonald isn’t the only Oscar winner associated with the new project, with Simon Chin (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man) set to produce.

An extremely popular artist — Houston sold over 200 million albums and broke more records than any other female vocalist in history — the singer’s life is particularly interesting because it was marred by self-destructive drug use and other personal dramas.

“The story that is never told about Whitney is just how brilliant she was as an artist; by many measures she had the greatest voice of the last 50 years,” said Macdonald in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, “She changed the way pop music was sung — bringing it back full circle to its blues and gospel roots. She was also completely unique in being a black pop star who sold in countries where black artists don’t traditionally sell.”

To get the full story about Houston, Macdonald interviewed her family, close friends, and musical partners, including Clive Davis — one time president of Arista records, and the current chief creative at Sony Music Entertainment.

Macdonald will use never-before-seen footage of the singer and exclusive demo footage to paint his portrait, and hopes to have crafted a more complex story than the one which is traditionally used to describe Houston’s complicated life: That of a heavy drug addict who died young.

“Although we won’t shy away from the darker parts of Whitney’s life — her descent into addiction — I want audiences to walk out of the cinema and feel positive about Whitney and her music,” he says about the film, “I want to reveal a woman that even her most die-hard fans never knew; and a woman those new to her life and music will never forget.”

The documentary, which remains unnamed, will be introduced to potential buyers at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in May, and will likely hit theaters by the end of this year.

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