Best selling author Terry McMillan took time out to discuss Oprah Winfrey playing Whitney Houston’s role in the sequel to “Waiting To Exhale” called “Getting To Happy” and her idea of a futuristic gang story hitting the silver scree and other rumors.
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And speaking of distinguishing yourself from other authors, the sequel to your NYT best-seller, “Waiting To Exhale,” is slated to hit theaters sometime in the future. How much are you involved in the development of the film?
Myself and [screenwriter] Lori Lakin Hutcherson wrote drafts for the film and then Whitney passed away. And so now the studio is trying to take a moment to think about how best to proceed. They’ve made it crystal clear that they want to proceed, but it’s just a matter of how. I have mixed feelings about which way might be best to tell the story. I have critics who feel like they are casting directors, and they know more about what should happen. You have no idea. People have said that we should just kill off the Savannah character, or have her go get a job somewhere and move out of the state. I mean, all kinds of things. And then I have people who think they have in mind who should play Savannah. And right now I’m not in a position to be an advocate one way or the other, with the exception of the fact that it’s hard to imagine the story without the Savannah character in it. Even though I know how other people may feel the opposite. I feel terrible about Whitney, just like everybody else, but there’s a part of me that also feels that she would want the film to go on. That’s just my gut feeling. And it has nothing to do with me not having an allegiance to her or respect for her. I just have a feeling that Whitney would love from heaven, to sit up there and watch who else can do the character.
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What are your thoughts on the reports and rumors that were circulating that Oprah would play the role?
Someone told me this and I said, ‘Oh, really?’ I mean, I don’t have any thoughts one way or the other. I love Oprah. I know that I heard that she would like to be able to act again. When she would possibly have the time, who knows? But I haven’t thought that far, because again, I am not a casting director. That is not my area. I mean, I also love Viola Davis, but we’re not there yet. I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that Whitney is no longer here with us.
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