What Didn't Make It into Lifetime's Whitney Houston Biopic

"Whitney" director Angela Bassett and Yaya DaCosta, who plays Houston, talk about working on the film.
6:13 | 01/13/15

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Transcript for What Didn't Make It into Lifetime's Whitney Houston Biopic
Whitney Houston's powerhouse vocals and meteoric rise to stardom were always larger than life ran tonight we go behind the scenes with first-time director Angela basset whose new movie, just like Houston herself, filled with talent and tragedy, is stirring controversy. Here's ABC's nick watt. ? ? I want to dance with somebody ? Reporter: Everyone has a favorite Whitney Houston song. This is mine. "I want to dance with somebody." ? With somebody who loves me ? Reporter: And everybody it seems has an opinion on the choices she made in life, the man she loved, the way she died. Making a film about Whitney Houston isn't easy. This is the first time anyone's tried. Open the door! Whitney. You need to protect your voice. Reporter: We all know what Whitney Houston looks like, we know what she sounds like. And you have to recreate that? Yes, I had to study even in the lip synching. What shape does her mouth make? What are her hands doing? ? I'm your baby tonight ? Reporter: Yaya de Costa, seen in "Lee Daniels the butler" and "America's next top model" plays Houston, one of the most successful female recording artists of all-time. It definitely was a daunting task. Reporter: Angela basset who played another giant, Tina turner, strutting her "What's love got to do with it" stuff, she directs this diva premieres on lifetime. You could have picked an easier topic you think? How did you do it? Reporter: Basset and Whitney knew each other. They starred together in "Waiting to exhale" in 1994. I was just -- I was excited about it. Having worked with Whitney before. You know, and loving her as I do, as I did. It's my baby, don't mess with my baby. Reporter: We met at house of blues in Los Angeles to talk about the film which focuses on Whitney Houston and bobby brown. I love you, bobby. You are the one I love. Reporter: The movie is, in one sense, startling. I came out of this movie feeling sorry for bobby brown. Not everyone is as bad and no one is perfect. I felt sorry, I felt sympathy, empathy for him. Up until this point, I haven't felt any of those things for bobby brown. Amen. ? Reporter: Hits like "If it isn't love." You have girls screaming and clawing for you at 13. And you see how you mature. As director, as actor. We began to think about those things and we looked through it through those prisms. Reporter: Before he went all bad boy, when he went solo. ? Reporter: "Every little step I take," his biggest hit. You know what's funny? Reporter: Basset met him in '94 while working with Houston on "Exhale." When you actually met him, when you were in a room with him, was he the bad boy? No, he wasn't bad at all, he was charming. He was bright. He was respectful. He was in love with his woman. Reporter: The woman who sold over 200 million records and was at that time at her peak. For the movie, one of Houston's old labelmates Deborah cox recorded those songs in the studios then yaya de Costa took them onstage. I actually asked for it to be played out loud. So even the audience that we had could hear Deborah Costa singing Whitney's sonnd me singing at the same time. Okay, okay. What do you say? Reporter: When they met, bobby was 19. Whitney was 26. I'd get in there! I just hope it's not bobby brown. Reporter: Whitney's mom sissy is portrayed as dead against the union and is dead against the bio-pic that represents as told in a statement they are very disappointed Angela basset never personally reached out to them and that we cannot help but question the veracity of a story about Whitney and bobby's personal relationship." She claims that none of spoke to anybody who actually kn deknew Whitney, you're telling a tale you don't really know. A friend said to me, it's an honest portrayal. It may not be truthful because who can know each and every truth of each and every situation. Reporter: Dionne Warwick, Whitney's cousin, has seen the movie. She appreciated it, she loved it. She said, thank you, thank you, this is good. Reporter: For a woman who sang so much about love, she was unlucky in it. A relationship with brown incident greated into a mass of alleged domestic violence and addiction. Their demise was played out in public. Come back to the feeling that people have that your husband's controlling and that you can't get away from it any more than an abused wife. It's a magnet that pulls you back. A magnet that they're talking about is my love and my protection for him. Reporter: Houston's public, shocking end nearly three years ago, aged 48, she drowned in a bathtub, drugs in her system, that's not even mentioned in this movie. Not even in a postscript. Why steer totally clear of that? A full, rich, complicated life, there's no way to do that in a television movie. And that's not a story that I was interested in telling. Reporter: The story she wants to tell is about a woman who could make you feel like this with her voice. ? I will always love you ? Reporter: "I will always love you." Hearing that iconic grammy performance, one of the best-selling singles of all time. I'm nick watt for "Nightline" in Los Angeles. ? I will always love you ? You can catch "Whitney" on lifetime on January 17th.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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