Chatting with TheWrap.com, Bassett mentioned that she reached out to Warwick in hopes she’d relay positive feedback on “Whitney” to the Houston family, in light of Houston’s mom Cissy publicly speaking out against the film in July.
“Well, I’ve spoken to Dionne. I was able to show it to her because I want Miss Cissy to see it,” Bassett told TheWrap at a screening of the movie in Beverly Hills on Tuesday.
“This is their heart, so we don’t play with folks’ hearts. I was able to show Dionne, and it went very well. She appreciated it. So, now she can go and report to their auntie that we honored her.”
In addition to Warwick, Bassett’s husband Courtney B. Vance was on hand for the screening as well as Magic Johnson and Anthony Anderson. “Whitney” cast members Yaya DaCosta and Arlen Escarpeta, who played Whitney and Bobby Brown respectively, stood by Bassett’s side at the event, along with Deborah Cox, who re-recorded five original Houston songs for the film, including “I Will Always Love You” and “I’m Every Woman.”
“Whitney” centers on the relationship between Houston and Brown as it journeys from superstar puppy love to addiction and heartbreak. Despite being sympathetic, the film doesn’t avoid touching on Houston’s less than glorious moments.
“Never did I think, ‘I shouldn’t have done this.’ There might have been moments where you say, ‘How’s it going to come together? Will people receive it positively?’ But I really felt her presence, and I knew it would be OK,” Bassett said. “Her spirit was with us.”
“Whitney” is set to premiere at 8 p.m. Jan. 17 on Lifetime.