Whitney Houston's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' Biopic Casts Leading Role

By Hayden Brooks

December 16, 2020

Naomi Ackie will step into Whitney Houston's shoes for the upcoming Sony musical biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

On Tuesday (December 15), Variety reported that the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker actress, 28, has been cast for the film’s leading role. The project, which is scheduled to be released on Thanksgiving 2022, will be directed by Stella Meghie from a screenplay by Bohemian Rhapsody writer Anthony McCarten.

"We spent the better part of the last year in an exhaustive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston. 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," Meghie said in a statement.

Meanwhile, industry honcho and close Houston affiliate Clive Davis, who will serve as producer for the film, was overjoyed with the casting. "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," Davis said.

No word on how deep of a dive the film plans to take into Houston's personal trials, but Davis did previously emphasize that the project will go far into her career and personal life. "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," Davis said in a statement. "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."

Photo: Getty Images

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