Editor Daysha Broadway cuts new Whitney Houston biopic
December 16, 2022

Editor Daysha Broadway cuts new Whitney Houston biopic

LOS ANGELES — Editor Daysha Broadway recently cut the new Whitney Houston biopic, I Wanna Dance with Somebody. Directed by Kasi Lemmons, the Sony Pictures film stars Naomi Ackie as the singer, along with Stanley Tucci and Ashton Sanders. 

Broadway was challenged with showcasing Whitney in a relatable and empathetic manner, with the goal of returning her dignity and respect. She also had to balance scenes of Whitney’s on- and off-stage life, as well as ensure that all character arcs were completed to fully represent what motivated the singer throughout her life, her relationship with loved ones and her struggles. 

Broadway cut the feature in the 2.39 aspect ratio using Avid Media Composer, editing the offline at 1920-by-1080 with the DNxHR LB codec.

“I’ve been editing the film since October 2021,” she explains. “I cut the (editor’s cut) remotely in Los Angeles while the film was being shot on the East Coast. Then I flew to Boston to work on the director’s cut with Kasi for a little over three months. Then we came back to Los Angeles to work on the studio cut and lock the picture. It’s been a little over a year from EC to the final mix.”

The fact that the subject matter was that of such a well-known star made things a bit nerve wracking, Broadway admits.

“There’s a lot of pressure to get the most iconic moments right, not to mention getting the essence and spirit of Whitney right,” she explains. “So choosing performances and keeping a healthy balance between the spectacle and the more intimate nature of the film was a challenge. We were also presented with a lengthy script that needed to come down quite a bit. Part of the fun was figuring out creative ways to intercut scenes so that the audience gets the information they need, but the pace is kept up, and we feel like we’re moving forward in the story. The scenes complement each other and add weight to one another. The ‘Sometimes’ interview scene is a good example of that.”

For Broadway, the most exciting sequence to cut was Houston’s Super Bowl performance, where she sings the National Anthem. 

“There were many moving parts,” the editor recalls. “Jets, crowds, VFX, etc. But then there was also the story. Whitney just wanted to be herself — to have things her way for once. I wanted to make sure we were selling that as well. Ultimately, it turned out to be a very moving piece in the film.”

I Wanna Dance with Somebody, which opens in theaters December 23rd, was Broadway’s largest project to date.

“It’s huge in scale, has tons of VFX, involves many producing parties,” she explains. “The estate was involved, and I was flying all over the country, trying to get it done. There was a lot of heavy lifting in post, and I’m proud we got it done. It’s a great, big film befitting an icon.”

Click Here for Iain Blair’s conversation with director Kasi Lemmons.