Will Oprah Replace The Late Whitney Houston as Savannah in Waiting to Exhale Sequel?



 




Whitney Houston's untimely and tragic death isn't derailing plans to bring the highly-anticipated sequel to one of her hit movies, Waiting to Exhale, to the big screen, and one of daytime television's biggest legends is being mentioned as a possible replacement for the late superstar!

In a new post up on New York Magazine's Vulture blog, Fox 2000 Pictures President Elizabeth Gabler revealed the studio plans to move forward with plans to adapt Terry McMillian's Getting to Happy, the 2010 sequel to her 1992 runaway best seller Waiting to Exhale. While Gabler stated they hadn't started talking to any actresses about filling Houston's designer shoes to portray unlucky-in-love TV producer Savannah Jackson, it isn't "inconceivable" to think of Oprah Winfrey. Say what? Say huh?

 

 

Don't get me wrong, I think The Mighty O is a phenomenal actress, as exhibited in such vehicles as The Color Purple and The Women of Brewster Place, however she's 10 years older than the late Houston! Age aside, Oprah isn't exactly who comes to mind for cussing, sexually liberated Savannah, when reading the pages of either of McMillan's novels about a quartet of Phoenix, Arizona sisterfriends. 

Back in 1995, when the cast of the movie went on Winfrey's talk show to promote the flick, the chat queen admitted she'd tried to buy the film rights, and had lobbied hard to play the role of volatile Bernadine, a wealthy sistah, whose life was torn apart when her husband left her for a white woman. That role ultimately went to Angela Bassett, who gave the performance of her career in scenes where Bernie, mid stark-raving fit, burned most of her husband's belongings, including his car!

While I wouldn't mind seeing Winfrey added to the cast as another pal of Savannah, Bernie, Gloria (Loretta Devine) and Robin (Lela Rochon), I just don't think she's right for sexy Savannah. I'd rather see Fox consider The Young and the Restless alum Victoria Rowell or  Vivica A. Fox. Or, how about Viola DavisThe Help actress is not only talented, but striking, and I'm itching to see her play a more glammed up part. 

Who do you guys think should play Savannah in the Waiting to Exhale sequel? Are you happy the movie is moving forward at all, or do you wish they'd scrap it? Sound off in the comments!

Photo of Oprah Winfrey by PR Photos

 


Comments

Member since:
17 July 2009
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This announcement couldn't wait a week? (And I don't mean your reporting of it, Jamey, but the producer's statements.) I realize that the show must go on, but it just seems sensationalistic to make this announcement just four days after Whitney's death. "Hey, Whitney's dead! We'd better get publicity for our movie while the iron is hot!" I guess that's Hollywood for you.

Member since:
22 October 2010
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I wish they would scrap it for now. Whitneys death will take a long time for us to get over. This was not something people are taking in stride to readily. We loved her and I know the show must go on, but not tomorrow.

The_Moustache's picture
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17 June 2009
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Oprah is complete TRASH and horrible actress.

used2bmrsmorgan's picture
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24 February 2010
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I wish they would scrap it for now the way Whitney did with Sparkle after the untimely death of Aaliyah. I agree that they could have at least waited to speak about replacing her so soon.

Member since:
17 October 2008
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17 weeks 3 days

If they must recast, I think Viola Davis would be ideal. She'll be (fingers crossed) the first African American actress to win the Oscar in the following wks. (I live in denial, b/c I don't count that Halle Berry) and that kinda cache is something that this film would need to add to the already interest to the fans of the book, and ppl wondering about the situation.

SoapArmageddon's picture
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22 January 2011
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Oh yes! Let’s hate on Oprah because she’s NEVER done a damn thing for anyone, never spent her money for the betterment of the human condition, never inspired millions of people to live better lives!

Please! It’s getting really old.

Member since:
22 October 2010
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And again I remain... Oprah Trash??? What is going on here?????????

Member since:
23 August 2009
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I cannot even imagine anyone in their right mind thinking Oprah can replace Whitney in anything! First of all, she's what twice the size of Whitney, and that's just her ego. This woman is a publicity whore who will do anything to further her empire. I for one am counting the days until OWN is bankrupt and off the air. She tweeted this weekend asking Nielsen families to not watch the Grammys but her network. How classless can you get? She knew they were remembering and honoring "The Voice". Oh that's right... the Grammys weren't going to be all about her.

blake3b's picture
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3 March 2009
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I really like Oprah, but why would she be considered for that role? And why does she want to do the role? She already owns her own network and she's on so many of the shows and specials on there.

Member since:
11 February 2008
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I think that it was classless to be talking about a replacement for a film that is barely in preproduction. As for Oprah, I agree, Oprah is a lousy choice to replace Whitney. I haven't read the book yet, so I don't know how much the characters have aged, but I am sure there are other appropriatly aged African Actresses that can and should be considered.

As for Oprah being trash......., I don't quite understand your issues. Yes, she tweeted during the Grammys, yes, she apologized. Yes, OWN is in trouble. NONE of this makes Oprah Winfrey trash and I would question what would make you draw such a conclussion. What does that say about a person(or persons) who would make such a statement?

Member since:
16 October 2008
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Only if Savannah gained like 300 lbs since Waiting To Exhale....

Member since:
22 October 2010
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17 hours 52 min

Wow

alstonboy4315's picture
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12 February 2010
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Oprah is a GREAT actress! Anyone who's seen her in "The Color Purple" or "Women of Brewster's Place" can attest to that fact. I can understand not liking the woman, but it seems that some of you are still bitter with her for not picking up AMC and OLTL for the OWN network.

If that's the case, I think it's time for you to let go of your resentment and move on......

I miss AMC and OLTL too, but I refuse to hold a grudge against Oprah for making a sound business decision.

With that being said, however, I do NOT think they should recast the role of Savannah. They should simply gracefully write her out of the sequel or kill her off in the movie and TASTEFULLY deal with her death. It would be an insult to Whitney Houston and her memory for them to do recast. Leave Whitney and the character of Savannah with her dignity in tact.

Bring on Oprah as an aunt, distant cousin or someone else. But not as Savannah. I hope Terry McMillan has more sense than to attempt some lame stunt-casting foolishness such as this. Oprah CAN act, but she should NOT be playing this role.

Cyberologist's picture
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27 December 2007
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Couldn't they wait until after her funeral for this? I think that Whitney's role can be recast but I just think it is in poor taste to discuss this before the funeral.

david46208's picture
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15 January 2009
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@The_Moustache: Oprah is an Oscar nominated actress. And the Oscars don't nominate trash! They nominate talent. Don't talk about the might O!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v5JjUZpAPk&feature=relmfu

SoapArmageddon's picture
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As far as I know (and I could be wrong), Oprah’s tweet was for people to watch OWN. She never said not to watch the Grammys.

david46208's picture
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@Jamey: Well for one Halle Berry could do the role justice. And I know she has been the go-to actress for many black roles, but she can cuss with the best of them and has the instant sex appeal to play a liberated sistah. And who better than a box office draw?

Now if we move away from her Vanessa Williams could make a nice turn as Savanna and is the same age as Whitney in real life.

After looking at this clip either one of these actresses could work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sgm94KxNNY

To add former ATWT star Tamara Tunie would also work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAlF2Nck0nU

david46208's picture
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@alstonboy4315: You can't write a major character out of the movie based on the book. The character is too important an would take away from the plot. So they should just work on recasting the role with a actress 45-50 in age. I read the sequel to Waiting To Exhale. It just would fall flat.

On the other hand, there are AMC/OLTL Stans taking it a little too far. I miss AMC but it is not anyone else's fault but the network that the soaps are gone. But I dealt with this reality 2 years ago before it happened.

So as they say when another episode closes, another one opens.

sallyv's picture
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5 December 2007
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I agree, this talk about a recast is totally inappropriate and unnecessary at this time.

And I agree that Oprah is a good actress.

But I ALSO agree that Oprah would be a lousy choice to "replace" Whitney. Look at the pictures on top of this page again.

Enough said.

Member since:
22 October 2010
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17 hours 52 min

Maybe Oprah wouldnt be good to replace Whitney, but she is a FANTASTIC actress. But alot of us do agree that this may not be the right time to talk about this. ALSTONBOY - Your are right. People need to let go of the grudges about our soaps and Oprah not taking them on. These grudges and hatred will avail us nothing. Usual Hugs to you.

akbad806's picture
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Victoria Rowell would ROCK as Savannah.

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@David I actually had both Vanessa and Halle in my first drafts of this post, then I sorta had a flash of both Vivica and Victoria acting out Savannah's lines and I replaced 'Nessa and Halle! LOL

david46208's picture
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@ Jamey Giddens: I remember that and can see it. Hopefully they get someone good.

MsAgentProvocateur1's picture
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I read about this yesterday on the Vulture blog and I have to wonder how much of this is actually true. These Hollywood productions have a way of mentioning names of people or starting a 'whispering campaign' knowing full well that said actress has never been asked, never said yes but in interest in testing public sentiment, so I'm not rushing to judgement where Oprah is concerned because I can't even imagine her in this role. Having said that..

I don't think that they should do another movie from this series. But that's just me. I'm can't claim to be a fan of Terry McMillan's books, Waiting To Exhale was really the only one of her novels that I've read and it took me like 2 and 1/2 hours or so to read it. And yes, I've seen the movie. I do that know McMillan has other novels and judging from her previous screen adaptations, there are probably plenty of other novels that are prepped for movies. Maybe it is just me, but I would spend the whole movie thinking that Whitney Houston used to play Savannah. But like I said, that's just how I feel.

ldylkng's picture
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14 July 2009
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I like the Tamara Tunie suggestion. But Audra McDonald, or Debbie Morgan would be great too!!!

david46208's picture
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@ldylkng: Like those too. Great choices.

ldylkng's picture
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Thanks David, And Oprah is a fantastic actress, anyone who has ever seen the COLOR PURPLE would know that!!!

jw79bull's picture
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15 February 2012
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Um Angela Bassett performance of her career was in What's love got to do with it...I love Waiting to Exhale too..but she WAS tina turner...I think the role should go to either Viola Davis or Taraji P Henson!

alstonboy4315's picture
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12 February 2010
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David46208--

I disagree with you about Savannah being "too important" to do the sequel without. Whitney Houston IS Savannah for me and so many other people. Movies aren't like soaps where people will just accept recasts willy-nilly. People learn to associate certain people with certain characters and I still believe it would be disrespectful to Whitney's legacy for them to cast someone else in the sequel.

That's just my opinion. Yes, the show must go on, but not every role needs to be recast.

They can center the movie around Savannah's death and bring on someone else like Victoria Rowell, Tarji P. Henson, Debbi Morgan, Viola Davis, Tamara Tunie or any of the other innumerable African American actresses (preferably Victoria Rowell, who would KICK major ASS!)

SoapArmageddon's picture
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22 January 2011
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I'm expecting some disagreement here; but there is another singer/actress who acts and can take on this role if they feel that they have to recast it:

Janet Jackson

She gave quite a good performance (probably her best) in For Colored Girls....

(Obviously, I'm partial to Vanessa myself.)