'It's almost in her honor that we think to soldier on,' Fox executive says.
By Kara Warner
Those of you who have been patiently waiting for a "Waiting to Exhale" sequel since falling in love with the original in 1995 might soon have a reason to "Exhale" again, despite the tragic death of co-star Whitney Houston.
According to New York magazine's Vulture blog, Fox wants to make something positive of the tragedy and is planning on moving forward with the project in honor of Houston.
"I don't think she would want it to [be shelved]," Fox 2000 Pictures president Elizabeth Gabler told . "It's almost in her honor that we think to soldier on."
Gabler, who worked on the original film, said the feel-good movie about four middle-class African-American women dealing with love and loss in the suburbs was a ground-breaker.
"This was the biggest barrier-buster for color lines," she said. "[Audiences] practically tore the theater down; we couldn't get them to leave. All these young women in their twenties and thirties wanted to stay and talk about what they'd just seen: Suburban women drinking Chablis who weren't living in the projects or stuck in gangs."
The studio picked up the rights to "Exhale" author Terry McMillan's sequel, "Getting to Happy," and has reportedly placed the film on a fast track of sorts, making plans to hire new writers to work on the script under the supervision of the original film's director, Forest Whitaker.
Although nobody has been approached about taking over Houston's role, Gabler mentioned the possibility of "Exhale" supporter Oprah Winfrey coming on-board either to produce or potentially be in the film.
"We literally have not talked about anybody for that part," Gabler said. "Forest, I know, is just ... grieving. He'd been the one who was speaking with her, updating [Houston] on its progress."
Although Houston's co-stars have not yet commented on their intentions to continue plans with the sequel, they did express their extreme sadness upon hearing the news of their friend and former co-star's death.
"I am so thankful to have been enveloped by the warmth of Whitney's great talents. They were undeniable and vast," Angela Bassett said in a statement. "Whatever her burdens, she has at last laid them down and picked up instead a crown. For truly, she was and will ever be for us — who were so captivated by her strengths — unparalleled."
"I am overwhelmed. I cannot wrap my mind around this. I missed the chance to see her at a party this past Thursday and when we spoke last she had just finished 'Sparkle' and she told me how excited she was to start production on 'Waiting to Exhale 2' with Angela, Lela [Rochon] and myself," Loretta Devine said. "My prayers go out to her family and I am so honored for the time I spent working with her on 'Waiting to Exhale,' 'The Preacher's Wife' and on 'Boston Public.' I love you, Whitney, and I will miss your easy laugh."
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