Ri-Ri is on the short list to play the late singer in a movie tribute

Rihanna is a favourite to star as Whitney Houston in a new film biopic about her life.

Ri-Ri, 24, is reportedly on a short list of names to play the singer – who died aged 48 earlier this month – in a long-planned project backed by Whitney‘s record company boss and mentor Clive Davis.

Clive wants to get the script done and start filming as soon as possible,’ says a source.

Whitney knew about the project and was excited to see where it would lead.

‘It’s hoped the biopic will be as successful as Oscar-nominated Tina Turner movie What’s Love Got To Do With It, which starred Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne as Tina and Ike Turner.’

Other celebrities on the list as possible Whitneys include American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, 22, and Jennifer Hudson, 30, while Will Smith‘s 11-year-old daughter Willow is in the frame to play her as a child.

But singer Brandy, 33 – whose brother Ray J was said to be dating the late singer – is desperate for the leading role.

‘My dream role would be to play Whitney Houston. I would love to play Ms Whitney,’ she told The People before Whitney‘s death.

‘I have her personality down pat, her “isms” down pat.

‘Like, no offence, ladies – it’s a lot of talented ladies there – but nobody can play Whitney like me.’

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Anna Duff