- 16 Dec 20
The biopic is “a joyous, emotional and heart-breaking celebration of the life and music of the greatest female R&B pop vocalist of all time, tracking her journey from obscurity to musical superstardom," a press statement says.
Sony has announced that English actress Naomi Ackie will portray pop icon Whitney Houston in their upcoming biopic on the star, titled I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
The leading actress is in "final negotiations" in terms of casting, according to Variety.
28-year-old Ackie recently earned a BAFTA for her acclaimed performance in the Netflix comedy-drama The End of the F***ing World.
She also scored prominent screen time in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and the British anthology series Small Axe from notable filmmaker and former actor Steve McQueen.
Alongside director Stella Meghie (The Photograph) and screenwriter Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody), Ackie will tell the complicated yet inspiring story of Whitney Houston - actress, powerhouse vocalist, and pop culture sensation.
Houston’s Estate has signed off on the film and will serve as one of its producers, meaning that Sony and Ackie has the blessing of the singer's family.
“We spent the better part of the last year in an exhaustive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston,” Meghie commented in a statement.
“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.”
Pat Houston is producing on behalf of the Houston Estate and also sang Ackie's praises.
“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.”
Music industry legend and one of Houston’s past mentors, Clive Davis, is also on the production team for I Wanna Dance with Somebody.
He described Ackie’s screen test as “so powerful, it sent shivers up my spine.”
I Wanna Dance with Somebody is expected to be released by Sony in November 2022.
"While being very frank about the price that super-stardom exacted, the biopic will be both the rich and complex saga of the search for the perfect marriage between song and singer and audience, and at the same time the moving tale of a simple Jersey girl trying to find her way back home,” a press statement reads.