Naomi Ackie Becomes Whitney In ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’

Naomi Ackie as Whitney Houston in "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"
Naomi Ackie as Whitney Houston (photo: Emily Aragones/CTMG/Sony Pictures)

Sony drops the trailer for the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, scheduled for release December 21. The screenplay was penned by Anthony McCarten, the screenwriter behind the 2018 Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Not surprisingly, the movie is produced by legendary music icon Clive Davis, who discovered and launched Whitney’s meteoric music career.

From Variety:

“The End of the F***ing World” star Naomi Ackie has the daunting task of portraying the legendary vocal powerhouse in the film, along with a cast that includes Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown and Stanley Tucci as Clive Davis. Clarke Peters will be playing John Houston, Whitney’s father, and Tamara Tunie will be portraying Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother.

Sony describes “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” as a “no-holds-barred portrait of the complex and multifaceted woman behind The Voice.” The film recounts the story of a New Jersey choir girl who became one of the best-selling and most awarded recording artists of all time.

At one point in the clip, Houston is told a common criticism is that her music “isn’t Black enough,” to which she confidently responds: “Look, I don’t know how to sing Black, and I don’t know how to sing white either. I know how to sing.”

The film will cover not only Whitney’s incredible music career but her spectacular 1992 acting debut alongside Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard and more.

Ackie told PEOPLE she was “very” nervous to play the 6-time Grammy Award winner. “She’s been elevated in my life for so long that it felt like an impossible thing to achieve at times,” said Ackie. “But so many people told me the same thing: If I wasn’t scared and nervous, they’d think something was wrong with me. … The biggest challenge was letting my fear of the magnitude of this task take a back seat. Nothing good comes from sitting in fear for too long.”

We lost Whitney in 2012 at the age of 48 when she was found to have drowned in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub. As the film is reportedly authorized by Whitney’s estate, who knows if her relationship with bestie Robyn Crawford will be explored.

Even after her passing, Whitney continued to top the charts. In 2019, she returned to the Billboard Hot 100 with the Kygo remix of her cover of “Higher Love.”

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(source: Variety)

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