Rare footage shows Whitney Houston rehearsing 'I'm Your Baby Tonight'

Joey Nolfi, Entertainment Weekly

The first clip from Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald’s upcoming documentary about Whitney Houston’s life offers an intimate peek at the late icon’s performative drive.

In the short preview (released Monday ahead of the project’s Cannes Film Festival debut), Houston takes to a stage to prepare for a live show.

Clad in a T-shirt and heels with a towel draped around her neck, Houston runs through choreography with backup dancers before launching into popular hits like “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “My Name Is Not Susan” — both of which appeared on the former’s namesake album in 1990.

» First trailer for estate-approved Whitney Houston documentary released

Though brief, the clip teases the film’s promise to paint an “unflinching portrait of Houston,” one that “probes beyond familiar tabloid headlines and sheds new light on the spellbinding trajectory of Houston’s life.” In this case, her dedication to the craft via “never-before-seen archival footage, exclusive demo recordings, rare performances, audio archives and original interviews with the people who knew her best.”

While “Whitney” is hardly the first feature inspired by the life of Houston, who died in 2012 at age 48 following a years-long struggle with addiction, it was crafted with official participation from the Houston estate.

» Whitney Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, dies at age 22

“I approached Whitney’s life like a mystery story; why did someone with so much raw talent and beauty self-destruct so publicly and painfully? I was lucky enough to have the support of Pat Houston and the Whitney Houston estate in this quest,” Macdonald (”One Day in September”) previously said of the project: “They entrusted me with the ‘keys to the vault’ while giving me complete freedom to follow the story wherever it went. At heart, ‘Whitney’ is an intimate family story that reveals a new side to a woman that even her most die-hard fans never knew.”

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