What Ashton Sanders Said About Playing Bobby Brown in Upcoming Whitney Houston Biopic

Since the trailer for the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic was released, fans of the “I’m Your Baby Tonight” singer are excited. It’s the first biopic her estate is in support of and a participant in. Ashton Sanders is playing the role of Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown. The former pair were married for 14 years. Sanders says he’s proud of how the film turned out.

Ashton Sanders looks into camera; Sanders is starring as Bobby Brown in the Whitney Houston biopic
Ashton Sanders | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Ashton Sanders is starring as Bobby Brown in the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic

The first-ever authorized biopic on Houston is set to be released Dec. 2022. Titled I Wanna Dance With Somebody, per Deadline, an official description of the film explains it as: “joyous, emotional and heart-breaking celebration of the life and music of the greatest female R&B pop vocalist of all time, tracking her journey from obscurity to musical superstardom. While being very frank about the price that super-stardom exacted, it will be both the rich and complex saga of the search for the perfect marriage between song and singer and audience, and at the same time the moving tale of a simple Jersey girl trying to find her way back home.”

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Naomi Ackie, a Broadway star, is starring as the singer. After an exhaustive search to find the perfect woman to portray the icon, Ackie was handpicked by producers. One of the producers of the film is Houston’s longtime mentor, Clive Davis. Moonlight alum Sanders stars as Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown. 

He says playing Bobby Brown was ‘euphoric’

Sanders has built an impressive resume, even portraying RZA in the Wu-Tang series. And to embody a prolific figure like Brown, he admits he was hesitant to sign on. He appeared on The Jennifer Hudson Show and revealed he auditioned for his role at director Kasi Lemons’ request, but he still had reservations.

Source: YouTube
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“I was pretty nervous to take on the part given, you know, everything it was going to be,” Sanders explained. But he’s happy about how the film turned out and thinks the fans will be pleased as well. “I think we really created something beautiful that will be nostalgic, well-respected, and euphoric. It’s a beautiful film,” he added. 

He also praised Ackie’s performance, as she’s under tremendous pressure. “[It was] really special to be working with Naomi Ackie, who absolutely kills it as Whitney Houston,” he said. “I was just there in support of her. A lot of people think of Bobby Brown when they think of Whitney Houston, as they do, but this is her actual life story. We wanted to show the real moments in her life.”  

Bobby Brown is less than thrilled about the movie

Brown and Houston’s story has been told multiple times, even by Brown in his own memoir and mini-series film that aired on BET. But he says no one contacted him about Houston’s biopic. “I don’t know nothing about that movie,” he told TMZ when they caught up with him at LAX recently. He’s also been open about not caring about the way the story may potentially be told since he was not consulted. 

Houston’s cousin, Dionne Warwick, is also against the film. 10 years after Houston’s death, Warwick wants her estate and others who produce similar projects to let her rest.