BET is set to dive into the life of Bobby Brown with their upcoming biopic The Bobby Brown Story.
The two-part miniseries will see actor Woody McClain reprising the role of Brown after portraying him in BET’s highly successful The New Edition Story. Gabrielle Dennis will star opposite McClain as Whitney Houston as the series explores the marriage between the R&B bad boy and the late icon.
McClain and Dennis joined ESSENCE Entertainment Director, Cori Murray, at this year’s ESSENCE Fest for a quick conversation about the film and what they learned from Brown.
For Dennis, having the real-life subject of the story she was telling at her side made her especially conscious of handling the role with the utmost care.
“For me, I think the biggest part was being aware that we’re really reliving, for him, these traumatic moments,” she said. “Good times as well but like, especially anything involving his daughter was just a lot. It just makes you that much more responsible with your art, knowing that there’s a human being who’s being represented [in the story] right there with you.”
The pair also dished on their favorite Bobby Brown song and what it was like having the man himself on set as they filmed difficult scenes. While weighing in, McClain shared that Brown—understandably—refused to come to set on the days they filmed scenes related to events surrounding his daughter Bobbi Kristina’s death.
“I know a lot of people online like to laugh and joke about Bobby Brown but, this dude has lived a really serious life,” McClain said. “And for him to be on set and try to re-live it, it’s hard. I don’t even talk to him about certain things. Like, I don’t think we ever really had a conversation about Bobbi Christina because I know it just takes him to a whole different place.”
As for the moments Brown enjoyed seeing brought to life most, the performances from McClain were at the top of the list.
“He loved all the live performance stuff,” McClain said. “He’d be in the back screaming, ‘Yeah, that’s me!”
Dennis shared that she believes another on the list of Brown’s favorite moments during filming was bringing the young actors up to speed about the happier days between himself and Whitney.
“Just getting to talk to him about the fun that he and Whitney would have,” she added. “Reliving those moments was really special.
The Bobby Brown Story premieres September 4 on BET.