Whitney Houston biopic finds its star in Naomi Ackie (exclusive)

1:32 PM PST 12/15/2020


Mia Galuppo

Stella Meghie will direct ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ for Sony’s TriStar label, with support from the Whitney Houston estate and music producer Clive Davis.

After a worldwide search, Naomi Ackie has been chosen to play the iconic performer Whitney Houston in the biopic I want to dance with someone.

British actress, who played a central role in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, is negotiating the position of Sony and its TriStar division, which has set the film for a Thanksgiving 2022 release.

Anthony McCarten, who wrote the biopic about Queen Bohemian Rhapsodywrote the screenplay while Stella Meghie, who was behind the Issa Rae romance The photo, is set to direct.

“We’ve spent most of the past year in an extensive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston,” said Meghie. “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 into its inner life. “

Houston, who has earned six Grammys during her extensive career, is one of the most famous artists of all time, selling more than 200 million records worldwide, with hits such as’ Saving All My Love for You ‘,’ How Will I Know ‘and’ I Wanna Dance With Somebody. She made her acting debut in the 1992 blockbuster The bodyguard, Record six songs for the movie’s soundtrack, including “I Will Always Love You”. She died in 2012 at the age of 48.

Pat Houston will produce the film on behalf of the Whitney Houston estate, along with music producer Clive Davis, McCarten through his Muse of Fire Productions and Larry Mestel for Primary Wave Music, a partner of the Whitney Houston estate. Denis O’Sullivan and Jeff Kalligheri produce and finance for Compelling Pictures.

Nicole Brown, Shary Shirazi and Brittney Morrissey will oversee the project for TriStar Pictures.

With the support of the Houston and Davis estate, the film will use the singer’s catalog, including her vocals.

Davis said, “Naomi Ackie’s screen test was so powerful it made me shiver. While Whitney’s incomparable vocals are used for all songs, Naomi’s extraordinary acting range allows 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. “

“All Whitney fans have a hunger for perfection when it comes to Whitney and her legacy,” said Houston. “Turning someone into an unparalleled icon is next to impossible. But with careful consideration, Naomi Ackie was selected for her quality performance and her deep dedication to emerge as the woman we all loved. We look forward to this journey. to do with her. “

This is by far the biggest role to date for Ackie, who has been introduced to a global audience in recent times Star Wars feature, The Rise of Skywalker. She is currently featured in Steve McQueen’s Amazon anthology film series Small ax, with previous credits, including indie standout Lady Macbeth and Netflix series The end of the F *** ing world, the latter of which earned the actress a BAFTA Award.

Ackie, who will direct the next heist musical The score, is represented by CAA, Hamilton Hodell from the UK, Range Media and Peikoff Mahan.