TV ONE Original Movie, Bobbi Kristina, is premiering tonight at 7:00 PM ET on TV ONE
There are many speculations afloat about the sincerity of the film. TV ONE assures that their goal is to restore the morality of the story, from what media and tabloids muddled through the years.
During a press junket, the cast for the TV ONE original movie, set a few things straight about productions and their reasons for pursuing the film.
Cast: Joy Rovaris (Bobbi Kristina) Demetria McKinney (Whitney Houston) Vivica A. Fox (Pat Houston), Hassan Johnson (Bobby Brown), Nadji Jeter (Nick Gordon)
TV ONE Original Movie, 'Bobbi Kristina'
D’Angela Proctor, VP of Productions shared, “We’re really excited about the presentation of this project. One of the things that appealed the most to me about the Bobbi Kristina story is at the end of the day, this is a story of a young girl, who was looking for a boy to love her—And to me, it’s a quintessential love story gone wrong.
To be honest, it could have been anyone. She didn’t have to be Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s daughter. She just happened to be Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s daughter, which added another layer of complexity to the relationship she was seeking. It also added another level of complexity to what she brought to the relationship between her and Nick Gordon.”
Proctor said, “The reason that they are telling the story [is] because the story is something that poses a cautionary tale to young women in terms of the choices that they make, and who they bring to a relationship— And whether they bring their best selves to a relationship, so in that regard it is a universal story that can be told at any point and time.”
Joy Rovaris is playing the role as Bobbi Kristina—though this isn’t her first role, it’s the largest to date.
Rovaris said she believes that Bobbi Kristina loved Nick Gordon endearingly and that the connection was hugely eye opening in regards to that relationship.
Vivica Fox is portraying the character of Pat Houston.
Vivica Fox as Pat Houston
“It was very important for me to be a part of this project because I knew the family personally. And for me to be cast, to play Pat Houston, Pat took on a bit of the parental role once Whitney passed away, looking out for Bobbi Kris.
More than anything else, working with Ty Hodges, who is someone that I’ve known for a for a very long time, is what we wanted to do. We wanted to humanize this story, and the characters so that we explained how they were all connected, as well as the challenges [they faced] after such a huge loss of Whitney Houston passing away— [and] to make these people under this family, outside the tabloid headlines. It was very important to me because I loved Bobbi Kristina and Whitney Houston. I knew Pat, so I was glad the Director, Ty Hodges, made sure that I looked at footage of Pat, to get her mannerisms— And that we made her as believable as possible.”
Fox said that it was imperative to her that she embodied characteristics, capturing all of Pat Houston’s essence, from her French manicured nails down to her hairstyle although she didn’t look exactly like Pat Houston.
Demetria McKinney, who gave Whitney Houston life, after death. She personified Whitney in truthfulness, and in such a delicate way, that it was almost frightening to watch her on television.
"Anytime I’ve been interviewed or asked what my dream role would be, before her passing, it was always Whitney Houston. It’s not because of the voice and it wasn’t because of the phenomenal woman that she was on stage, [and] that presence that she was in everybody’s life. It was more so because of who I was, because of her pain. She never met me. She never knew me, but being a person who has homeless, being a person who came from a household where I was molested; you know, there were different things that I had to emote and almost couldn’t get out of because that place was so dark—but her voice literally brought me out of it. She was the musical inspiration for me personally.
Everything that I’m doing with my music. Playing this role has so many things for me, and the opportunity to honor her, the opportunity to restore the humanity, as I think everybody in the cast really wanted to do. The opportunity to make sure that we all found ourselves in those people, was something that I could not, absolutely, pass up. If you take out Bobbi Kristina’s name, if you took out Whitney, if you took out Bobby Brown, these are real people.
I think the super human part about them being icons and iconic, kind of took away from the fact that we need to let them be who they were, and that might’ve been the thing that saved them. The love kept them, the fame destroyed who they wanted to be in themselves. Playing Ms. Whitney Houston wasn’t something that I approached lightly especially when they told me that my voice would be used for her as far as the vocals and the singing. It was scary. It was beautiful. It was spiritual. It was something that I would never forget."
Joy Rovaris & Nadji Jeter
Screenwriter, Rhonda Baraka, said that she was drawn to the mother-daughter bond. Barama said that she has a daughter herself and that she couldn’t imagine what Bobbi Kristina endured after the death of her mother.
“I really felt that her story had been cut short, when her life ended. People were ready to dismiss her, to silence her story, to sort of turn out the lights and call it a day.
The story gave us an opportunity to do what she couldn’t, to speak for herself, and stand up for herself; to share her truth. We made a very deliberate attempt to—We created this as Kristina’s universe from the very beginning to when writing the story, when I was talking to Tracey, Rob and De’Angela… we were very adamant because this had to be Kristina’s universe and these other people were typically in her orbit, telling it [the story] from her perspective. All of those things were very important for us.”
Director Ty Hodges stated that he was moved to direct the project because he understood the dehumanizing instances and the humanizing part of famous people. He shared the exact reactions that the cast and producers shared. They wanted to deliver a heartfelt message by focusing on Bobbi Kristina’s human side as a teenager in love, and a teenager who had Rockstar parents that were larger than life—or living life under a microscope, and loving out loud regardless of the cantankerous whispers surrounding her… She tried to live, while muffled at the same time.
Nadji, the actor playing Nick Gordon said that he found out a lot about the real relationship between Kristina and Gordon—he also said that people painted Gordon to be a villain; however, he really had a soft heart.
Vivica Fox and Ty Hodges
Humanizing the characters and seeing beyond the fame, that seemed to be the observable message that the writers, actors, and the production team from TV ONE really tried to execute, which we will wait with bated breath, to see the completeness of the storyline.
So what does that mean for Bobbi Kristina and Whitney Houston’s legacies now that productions are done and the cast was able to gain clarity from their immortality and their truth?
According to Hassan, the actor playing Bobby Brown, "I think we have to be empathetic to the legacy after being part of such a compelling story. In a sense, for me, I can't imagine-- I didn't know how much Bobbi Kristina really loved her mother. For me, I was amazed by it almost to the point that it made you question your feelings to your mom. With my mom, It's like, ‘Wait a minute. Have I felt this warm and loving, and trustworthy towards my mom?’ It's nuances like that, it makes you realize or remind you that you're human. We can’t let pride get in the way of our life journeys and what it has to offer. We are our own worst enemies. It think that automatically, you're compelled to have that empathy towards that legacy. It reinforces what is already there for you."
Joy said, "I also agree with Hassan on that. You already absorb the legacy, and once you step in and really get an understanding for them as human beings, it locks it in stone. You feel so much for these people. I think with our film, the audience will have that experience where you filter them as human beings. You kind of understand their decisions. Aside from the tabloids, it gives you insight on who they were as a family. For me, of course, I love the legacy even more."
MOVIE DESCRIPTION: Bobbi Kristina is a made-for-TV biopic inspired by the life of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown's only child, Bobbi Kristina Brown, who grew up in the shadow of her superstar parents' spotlight. This film offers an intimate look at the highs and lows of parental, familial and romantic love complicated by fame through the eyes of a sensitive, vulnerable young woman. Bobbi Kristina's high-profile life - and untimely death - may have been shrouded in mystery, but this film reveals her humor, quirks, deepest fears and longings, as well as explores her fight to be seen, heard, loved and to survive.