In summer, HOLA! USA reported that late singer Whitney Houston would have a biopic set to be released for Thanksgiving 2022. More details have surfaced about the film, including that British actress Naomi Ackie could portray Houston in I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
“We spent the better part of the last year in an exhaustive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston,” the film’s director Stella Meghie told Hollywood Reporter. “Naomi Ackie impressed us at every stage of the process. I was moved by her ability to capture the stage presence of a global icon while bringing humanity to her interior life.”
I Wanna Dance With Somebody, named after Houston’s 1987 hit single, has the participation of private music company Primary Wave and Grammy-winning music producer Clive Davis. The biopic will have Stella Meghie as the director, while Oscar-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten will be scripting and producing the biopic.
“Naomi Ackie’s screen test was so powerful; it sent shivers up my spine. Although Whitney’s incomparable vocals are used for all the songs, Naomi‘s extraordinary acting range enables her to masterfully capture Whitney’s unique charm, star power, and, of course, her personal struggles. Naomi is the real deal, and I can’t imagine a better choice for this iconic role,” Said Houston’s mentor, Clive Davis.
In the past, Davis also revealed that there is still so much more to tell about Whitney Houston’s story. “From all my personal and professional experience with Whitney from her late teenage years to her tragic, premature death, I know the full Whitney Houston story has not yet been told,” he said. “I am so glad that Anthony McCarten has committed to a no holds barred, musically rich screenplay that finally reveals the whole Whitney whose vocal genius deeply affected the world while she bravely battled the demons that were to be her undoing.”
Alongside McCarten, Pat Houston will also produce the movie on behalf of the Whitney Houston estate. “All Whitney fans have an appetite for perfection when it comes to Whitney and her legacy,” Houston said to the publication. “To transform someone into a matchless icon is virtually impossible. But with careful consideration, Naomi Ackie was selected based on her quality performances and her deep commitment to emerging into the woman that we all loved. We look forward to taking this journey with her.”
The producers also informed that their vision for the film is to pay homage in a joyous, emotional and heart-breaking celebration of the life and music of the greatest female R&B pop vocalist of all time. “Whitney just makes you want to get out of your seat and sing and dance! She is anthemic in every way. Anthony McCarten has bottled that up in his masterful screenplay bringing this beloved legend to life in a way we’ve never seen her – funny, exhilarating, aspirational, complex, and incredibly human,” said TriStar Pictures head, Nicole Brown. “Add to that Meghie, a diehard fan, who is so gifted at telling beautiful, modern, feminine tales. With the guidance of Pat Houston, the legendary Davis, Larry Mestel, and Denis O’Sullivan, and Jeff Kalligheri, we have the absolute dream team to create the ultimate celebration of Whitney’s incredible life and musical achievements.”
Houston, who tragically died by drowning due to coronary artery disease and cocaine intoxication in the bathtub of Suite 434 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, sold more than 200 million records worldwide and won six Grammy Awards, 22 American Music Awards, two Emmy Awards, and 16 Billboard Music Awards.