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‘Luther: Never Too Much’ Director Talks Late Crooner’s Struggle Weight and Sexuality Struggles | WATCH

*Nearly 20 years after his death, Luther Vandross still ranks among the best singers of all time. Yet despite countless R&B classic hits, numerous awards, and a loyal fanbase, he was famously private, with only a select few familiar with his life outside the spotlight.

With the arrival of the upcoming documentary, “Luther: Never Too Much,” Dawn Porter aims to give filmgoers an honest look inside Vandross’ world while highlighting his musical legacy

“I wanted him to be able to tell you his story as much as possible, so how do you do that with someone who’s not with us?” Porter told The Hollywood Reporter, touching on the crooner 1980’s classic hit “Any Love.” “A lot of that was thinking about the lyrics. [On] ‘Any Love,’ he was just endlessly frustrated with the absence of a romantic partner in his life,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “So through his lyrics, I think you get to know a little bit more about him.”

Set to premiere Jan. 21 at the Sundance Film Festival, “Luther: Never Too Much” explores Vandross’ musical legacy and influence, in addition to his struggles with his weight and sexuality. In addition to directing, Porter will produce the documentary. Vandross’ former label Sony is on board with the project as well as some of the “Stop to Love” hitmaker’s former bandmates and collaborators. Among those interviewed will be Vandross’ musical partner Marcus Miller, Mariah Carey, Nile Rodgers, Clive Davis, Valerie Simpson, Richard Marx, and Jamie Foxx, who joined Porter as a producer on the film.

Luther: Never Too Much" documentary director Dawn Porter; Photo: KEVIN SCANLON
Luther: Never Too Much” documentary director Dawn Porter; Photo: KEVIN SCANLON

The arrival of “Luther: Never Too Much” comes nearly two decades after Vandross, died in 2005 after suffering a stroke in 2003. The entertainer was 54. The film is noted for being the first-ever documentary about Vandross.

With the blessing of the singer’s family to produce the film and Sony’s involvement, Porter had a green light to access 80 hours of rehearsal footage as well as his famed music catalog, 150 hours of archival footage, and more than 2,000 photos, the Reporter mentioned.

For Porter, the green light from the Vandross family was a very notable achievement in helping her put together a quality film.

“The family is sensitive about some things, and I had a lot of respect for that, but they also had a lot of respect for me as a filmmaker and knew that all the aspects of his story should be told, so everybody’s happy. “I think they’ve gotten a lot of pitches, but we seemed to all hit it off,” she said.

“I’m not interested in doing a commercial. This is not a commercial for Luther. This is the truth as I discovered it,” Porter adds. “If we had discovered some hard things, you talk about the hard thing, and there are a few hard things. He didn’t have a perfect life by any means, so we addressed all of that. But I think for all of us, your struggles and how you respond to those struggles, that’s the story.”

American musician Luther Vandross (1951 - 2005) performs on the 'Oprah Winfrey Show,' Chicago, Illinois, June 24, 1991. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
American musician Luther Vandross (1951 – 2005) performs on the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show,’ in Chicago, Illinois, on June 24, 1991. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Vandross’s struggles with his sexuality are covered in “Luther: Never Too Much” as well as his well-known battle with his weight.

Discussing the late crooner’s sexuality and the media’s constant speculation throughout his career, Porter emphasized her desire to respect Vandross, who had a strong female following.

“What’s challenging, of course, is that he’s not here to speak for himself, and he chose to keep his private life private. On the other hand, I’m not homophobic; I wouldn’t want to be homophobic, so what we tried to do was have the people who loved him and knew him talk about his desire to be private and then say, ‘We’re going to respect how he wanted to live his life and what he wanted to say,’” she told the Reporter.

“We worked hard on that section because I think, on the one hand, nobody should be outed. On the other hand, don’t you just wish Luther could live in 2024? The world has changed. The world was different then. George Michael wasn’t out. AIDS was rampant. There was a lot of discrimination,” Porter adds. “So, I feel comfortable respecting his choice but saying that that was a struggle. The conversation around his sexuality was always a conversation that he struggled with, just like he struggled with his weight and his lack of love.”

Although Vandross was immensely popular, his fluctuating size was often a conversation among fans, who referred to him as Big Luther or Little Luther during various points in his career.

“It struck me how much all the talk shows had no shame about focusing on his weight, I think in a way that we wouldn’t do today. I think people realize that’s inappropriate and body shaming,” the award-winning filmmaker expressed. “It’s one thing to have to deal with, it’s another thing to have to deal with it in public. There’s a lot of shame that he had, so we tried to show that.”

For more of Porter’s interview on “Luther: Never Too Much,” click here.

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: Luther Vandross Hated Women Throwing Panties At Him During Live Shows

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