MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — In his Miami Beach office, award-winning documentary film director Rudi Dolezal shows off some of the accolades he’s achieved over his 35-year career directing thousands of music videos, documentaries and concert films.
It was that reputation that lead 6-time Grammy winner Whitney Houston to hire Rudi to follow her for six months in an all-access, behind-the-scenes film about her life on tour.
“I cannot say anything bad about Whitney,” said Rudi. “She was always on time. She let me film everything.”
Soon after the film was shot, news came out that Whitney was a cocaine addict.
“I never saw her doing drugs or anything. Long story short, that was the reason why this footage was never released. Because she was in denial. I was proposing to her that she give me another interview saying, ‘I have a substance problem.’ The fans would love it. She said, ‘No, I don’t have a substance problem.’ She was in denial, so I said, ‘Then we don’t release the footage.'”
When Whitney died in 2012, everyone wanted his video, Rudi said.
“Clive Davis, Oprah Winfrey’s company and Sony records all wanted it because they knew I had the footage, and they all wanted to buy it,” Rudi claimed. “They put millions on the table and I said, ‘I’m not selling this.’ I promised Whitney to do a film on her like I did on The Rolling Stones and on Queen. And if I sell this, I can’t control it.”
The result is the ShowTime documentary, “Whitney: Can I Be Me.” He co-directed with Nick Broomfield. It explores the headlines of Whitney’s bisexuality, a rumored romance with her close childhood friend Robyn Crawford, and her drug-plagued marriage with Bobby Brown. Rudi claims Whitney was introduced to drugs well before she met Brown.
“Whitney Houston knew about drugs long before Bobby Brown came into the picture,” he said. “That doesn’t mean everything about Bobby’s domestic violence and alcohol abuse was good, but what I can tell you, the two loved each other dearly.”
Rudi says all these years later, he’s happy with the documentary they’ve created.
“If this film can be a little part that we not only talk about her drug use, and this and that, and keep in mind she had one of greatest voices of pop culture ever, I mean ever, then I think I’ve made the right choice,” Rudi said.
“Whitney: Can I Be Me” is on Showtime Friday night at 9 p.m.