Whitney Houston's death will not derail Waiting to Exhale sequel, says studio

Fox 2000 will press ahead with planned follow-up 'in honour' of late singer, who had been set to reprise role in 1995 tearjerker

Waiting to Exhale
Loretta Devine, Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett and Lela Rochon in the 1995 film Waiting to Exhale. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/20th Century Fox

(theguardian) A planned sequel to the 1995 romantic tearjerker Waiting to Exhale is to move ahead despite the death of Whitney Houston, who had been expected to reprise her role as one of four unlucky-in-love women living in Phoenix, Arizona.
Elizabeth Gabler, of Fox 2000, said the studio would continue production on the follow-up "in honour" of Houston, who died on Saturday in a Beverly Hills hotel room hours before a pre-Grammy awards party that she was due to attend.
Waiting to Exhale was based on the novel by Terry McMillan, and the sequel will draw on McMillan's new book Getting to Happy, which was published in 2010 and continues the story of the lovelorn characters from the earlier tome.
"It's almost in her honour that we think to soldier on," Gabler told the Vulture blog. "I don't think she would want it to [stop] production."
The film version of Getting to Happy is currently being put together by Gabler and screenwriter Lori Lakin, under the watchful eye of Waiting to Exhale director Forest Whitaker, the Oscar-winning actor who made his big-screen directing debut on the earlier film.
Gabler said there were no firm plans for an actor to replace Houston. "We literally have not talked about anybody for that part," she said. "Forest, I know, is just … grieving. He'd been the one who was speaking with her, updating [Houston] on its progress."
However, Gabler did mention in the same interview that talkshow host Oprah Winfrey, who helped promote the first film, might be interested in the role.
With its portrayal of successful African American women who nevertheless struggle to find suitable romantic attachments, Waiting to Exhale was a box office success in 1995, taking $81.4m worldwide. It also starred Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Gregory Hines. At the time, Houston was earning $10m a movie following her turn in 1992'sThe Bodyguard opposite Kevin Costner.
The singer had not starred in a film since 1996's The Preacher's Wife, but was due to make a comeback of sorts in Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 film of the same name. The musical is due in cinemas this summer, with Houston playing the mother of three sisters in a Supremes-style girl group who struggle with the fallout from fame and drugs.