an authorized whitney houston doc is finally in the works

The 'unvarnished' documentary by Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald will include never-before-seen footage and interviews with the late icon's family.

by Hannah Ongley
28 April 2016, 5:38pm


Even the most skilled directors need help when it comes to re-telling the stories of our beloved late icons. And while Kevin Macdonald is undeniably one of the industry's top talents, bringing home an Oscar in 2000 for his recount of the Munich Olympics massacre One Day in September, his just-announced Whitney Houston documentary has the support of a very valuable party: Houston's family. The "unvarnished and authentic" project is the first one to be officially approved by Houston's estate since the singer's death in 2012 at the age of 48, and will get a worldwide theatrical release via the company behind Amy, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The untitled film will include never-before-seen footage plus interviews with Houston's family, friends, and collaborators. 

Macdonald says the project sets to "examine both the highs and lows of her dramatic career." Evidently he wants to give as much attention to Houston's often unsung triumphs as he does to the well-known tabloid stories. "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. "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."

Who gets to tell the stories of music's late icons is a subject that reached boiling point with the sad trajectory of Cynthia Mort's maligned Nina Simone movie Nina. Houston's legacy hasn't been handled with quite the same level of disrespect, though the singer's family have been openly critical of the biopics tackling her tumultuous story up to this point. These have included a Lifetime biopic directed by Angela Bassett and a BBC Two film helmed by Nick Broomfield of the controversial 1998 Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love film Kurt and Courtney, which played into the conspiracy theory that Courtney orchestrated the Nirvana frontman's death. Third time lucky? It's shaping up to look that way. 


Text Hannah Ongley

Whitney houston
kevin macdonald