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Diva Report....

Houston on Diva Duty for Smith  - Mr Showbiz Article

You're making a movie called Diva, and the part calls for a gorgeous, black singer with an obsessive fan or two. Mmm hmm, it's diva with a capital "D" Whitney Houston you'd be calling for the part.

Houston, whose big-screen acting career has been limited to The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale, and The Preacher's Wife, is attached to star in the remake of the extremely stylish 1981 French thriller. The remake had been intended for another diva, Diana Ross, but her option lapsed a year and a half ago.

Will Smith's production company snapped up the rights to the project from owner Canal Plus Image this week, reports Variety. Smith is not expected to appear in front of the camera. His Universal-based Overbrook Entertainment will co-produce with Houston's Brownhouse Productions.

The first Diva, based on the novel by Delacorta, was shot by Betty Blue director Jean-Jacques Beineix. The plot concerns a mail courier who surreptitiously tapes a performance by his favorite singer but ends up with the confessions of a murdered prostitute instead. Much chasing — including a memorable moped dash through the Paris metro in the original film — ensues. That film, which was released in the United States in 1982, starred real-life opera singer Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez as the titular diva.

Smith is attached to another remake: Jonathan Demme is shaping up a remake of the 1963 romantic thriller Charade, which starred the inimitable Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, for the actor-rapper to star in. Smith is currently shooting the period golf pic The Legend of Bagger Vance.

NEWSFILE: 6 FEBRUARY 2000

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