Looks like producers behind the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic have found their Whitney!
British-bred actress Naomi Ackie has been cast as the iconic singer in “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” the filmmakers announced Tuesday.
As previously reported, The Photograph director Stella Meghie will helm the film for Sony Pictures. Bohemian Rhapsody writer Anthony McCarten will pen the script. Pat Houston, Houston’s sister-in-law, will produce the film on behalf of the Houston estate, along with music producer Clive Davis (who discovered Houston).
“We spent the better part of the last year in an exhaustive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston,” Meghie said 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 Houston.”
Davis said 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.”
We were rooting for an actress, that could also sing, play Nippy like Anika Toni Rose and American Idol finalist Trenyce, but there’s no denying Ackie’s star is rising.
The 28-year-old was last seen playing ex-stormtrooper Jannah in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. She won a BAFTA Award earlier this year for her role in the series The End of the F***ing World. She’s currently starring in the Education installment of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology, and is set to star in the upcoming thriller The Score.
Now we’ll see what she does playing Whitney.
In a statement about the biopic, which will explore the life and music of the legendary singer, producers said the film won’t shy away from the circumstances surrounding Houston’s death, and that they were interested in working with McCarten given his sensitivity in approaching past biopics like the Freddie Mercury-centered Bohemian Rhapsody.
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is slated to release at Thanksgiving of 2022.
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