Here is the first look of Yaya DaCoasta Alafia as Whitney Houston with Arlen Escarpeta as Bobby Brown photographed together for the upcoming Lifetime biopic directed by Angela Bassett. You may remember Yaya on the hit series, American Next Top Model but since then, she has made a stepping stone into acting appearing in award-winning film, ‘ The Kids are All Right’, indie film – Big Words, and most recently, Lee Daniels’ The Butler. In each film, you see the growth in her acting skills and the potential to play a leading role with additional training. Arlen, a name that may not be as known unless you are into the sci-fi/ thriller/Suspense/ horror genre. He appeared in Friday the 13th, Final Destination 5 and most recently “Extant” starring Hallie Berry. If you watched the first episode of Extant, you will know his acting ability is strong.
Yaya as Whitney in the photo is precisely but Arlen as Bobby is not so convincing but does it matter? Does the actor “look” always have to match the real person in the biopic? Maybe? Diane Ross did an outstanding job portraying Billie Holiday in the 1972 film, Lady Sings the Blues and looked nothing like Billie. Nat ‘King’ Cole did not resemble W.C Handy either in the 1958 biopic, St Louis Blues. Both actors did amazing jobs portraying their persons. It also helped that both Diana Ross and Nat King Cole were singers/musicians turned actors. Their ability to sing in real time helped to make their roles much more believable. Yaya and Arien are not singers playing singers but actors playing singers so only time will tell if they can pull it off with just their acting capability.
Angela Bassett has her plate filled with this being her directorial debut and directing non-singers as singers in this biopic. As an actress, she did a phenomenal job portraying Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic, What’s Love Got to Do With It especially lip-syncing to Tina’s songs but imagine if she was a singer-turned actress, singing Tina’s songs; we will never know…. One thing for sure, the film is a classic and Angela was superb as Tina Turner! For now, we shall wait and see how the television movie plays out.