Essence magazine reported today that Lifetime network has chosen Arlen Escarpeta, 33, to play the role of Bobby Brown in its upcoming biopic about Whitney Houston’s climb to fame and the over-the-top crazy love of the couple. They had already cast actress YaYa DaCosta in the role of the legendary Houston.
Director Angela Bassett has chosen not to rehash the painful memories and questions surrounding the drowning of Whitney Houston in a hotel bathtub on February 11, 2012. Bassett said, “We’re not interested in dragging her life again through, you know, the muck. She had to play out her choices, and the consequences of them, in a very hot, glaring spotlight, but we’re not interested in dragging that through again.”
Escarpeta was born in Belize and has been acting since 2000 when he appeared in an episode of ‘Boston Public’. He has acted in episodes of ‘The Shield’, ‘Boomtown’, ‘Judging Amy’, and ‘7th Heaven’. He snagged a featured role in the premiere of Halle Berry’s new series ‘Extant’.
Escarpeta also has big screen experience under his belt. Some of the movies he is known for are ‘Dough Boys’, ‘We Are Marshall’, ‘Friday the 13th’, ‘Brotherhood’ and ‘Final Destination 5’. His movie ‘Into the Storm’, an action-packed thriller about a town devastated by killer twisters, will hit theaters August 8.
Escarpeta is excited about taking on the challenge of playing Brown, whom Houston always called the “real king of R&B”, and accurately portraying the good, the bad, and the ugly. He took to social media to show his respect tweeting, “Thank you @kingbobbybrown for setting such a high bar. I’ve been a fan since day one. 👏👏👏 #BobbyBrown.”
Houston’s family is against Lifetime’s movie because they say she deserved to have her life played out on the big screen. Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown lashed out at Bassett, whom she called “bassketcase” for not casting her to star in her mother’s life story, implying that people mistake Bassett for a man.
After a huge social media backlash against her attack on Bassett, Bobbi Kristina has since apologized by tweeting, “I’m a young woman who can admit her wrongs. 4who (sic) was offended I apologize BUT understand me before your (sic) quick to judge though.” So far Brown has made no statements about the upcoming Houston movie.
Bassett is confident that Escarpeta will nail the role. She told Entertainment Weekly that “it’s not like, oh my gosh, I have six good choices for Bobby. No, you don’t, you have two. Searching for weeks and only two rise to the top. They had different qualities that are like Bobby. You’ve gotta be like, which way do you want to go?” And Escarpeta was the way to go. The movie, with the working title ‘I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story” is currently filming. It is scheduled for release in 2015.