"I don't think she would want it to [not happen]," Elizabeth Gabler, president of Fox 2000 Pictures said. "It's almost in her honor that we think to soldier on ... This [movie] was the biggest barrier-buster for color lines."
The inevitable question now is who will take over Houston's role. Gabler cautiously floated Oprah Winfrey's name as a potential replacement, only to add that, "We literally have not talked about anybody for that part. Forest [Whitaker, who directed the first movie], I know, is just ... grieving. He'd been the one who was speaking with her, updating [Houston] on its progress."
There is no current timetable in terms of a release date for "Waiting to Exhale 2." The original film -- based on Terry McMillan's bestselling novel -- starred Houston, Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon and Loretta Devine, as four friends who deal with relationships and life.
"After 'The Bodyguard,' I think Hollywood saw me as they did Streisand, when Streisand was first coming out: 'We can hire her for the movie, but we need her to sing,'" Houston said about her acting in a 1996 interview. "I didn't plan it. Like doing '[Waiting to] Exhale,' I didn't want to sing at all. I just wanted to act."
"Waiting to Exhale" earned over $80 million worldwide after its release in 1995. The sequel would be based on McMillan's "Exhale" follow-up, "Getting to Happy."