Clive Davis on Whitney Houston Biopic, Navigating Music Biz Shifts

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Clive Davis has by no means seen a documentary on Whitney Houston that captured the artist and the individual he knew so nicely. So he set out greater than a 12 months go to supply a film biopic of the chart-topping singer of such indelible 1980s and ’90s hits corresponding to “Saving All My Love For You,” “So Emotional,” “I Wanna Dance With Anyone” and “I Will At all times Love You.”

Within the newest episode of Selection podcast “Strictly Enterprise,” Davis particulars how he teamed with “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “The Two Popes” screenwriter Anthony McCarten to develop the script for the Houston biopic.

The pair agreed to work collectively on their very own in an effort to store a accomplished script to the main studios and to boost their very own financing. After fierce bidding, the Houston film landed a distribution pact with Sony Footage (the studio’s sibling music division owns Houston’s catalog) with director Stella Meghie on board as nicely.

“I didn’t pay a penny to him, and he didn’t pay a penny to me,” Davis says of his work with McCarten. The 2 hit it off straight away, and Davis spent a 12 months introducing him to key figures in Houston’s life. Davis vows that the film shall be a “no holds barred” portrait of the artist, who died tragically in February 2012 on the age of 48 after grappling with drug abuse.

Hearken to the newest episode of “Strictly Enterprise” under:

“I’ve a mission right here,” Davis says. “I’ve a mission to make it possible for all the time that the total image of Whitney Houston is captured in a no-holds-barred movie that’s musically wealthy and reveals her genius and extra of her character than we have now seen thus far” in different tasks.

The plan is to make use of Houston’s unique recordings within the film, that means that the actor who lands the plum  lead function doesn’t have to have Whitney Houston-level pipes.

“There was a fierce competitors for the film,” Davis says. “I’m comfortable to say the response to the script was good. Virtually each studio head referred to as to inform me about their ardour for the undertaking. They know Whitney has been captured and the chance right here is so particular and distinctive.”

Davis additionally reveals that he and McCarten made an settlement whereas working on the Houston script to associate sooner or later if both of them resolve to pursue a film biopic of Janis Joplin. Davis championed the iconoclastic younger lady from Port Arthur, Texas who blew the rock world away along with her sound and her swagger earlier than her demise at age 27 in 1970.

“We agreed there may nonetheless be a fantastic movie on Janis Joplin,” Davis says. “Now we have performed nothing on that one however we have now legally dedicated to one another to do it collectively if both of us ever get entangled in it.”

Davis’ lengthy profession as head of Columbia Information and Arista led him to be a key determine within the careers of Joplin, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith, to not point out in later years Houston, Aretha Franklin and Sean Combs. However even after greater than a half-century within the biz, Davis says he nonetheless retains his eyes and ears open for the following large factor.

“I nonetheless hear to each chart document when it comes out to see how music is altering,” he says.

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