Whitney Houston‘s life and career were cut short at an unexpected moment by the cold hands of death. The award-winning singer left behind a unique collection of hit singles and albums that have continued to gain her renown and critical praise even after her untimely death.
Few years ago, media powerhouse Sony gave the green light to the development of her biopic in the hopes of bringing her narrative to the big screen and paying tribute to her posthumously.
Naomi Ackie was recruited as Houston, and a slew of other brilliant performers was cast to round out the cast. Now, Sony has released a poster showing Ackie dressed in an imitation of the late singer’s trademark outfit as a preview for the upcoming film.
Noami Ackie Stars As Whitney Houston In ‘I Want To Dance With Somebody’
Sony has kept details regarding Houston’s planned biopic, “I Want to Dance with Somebody,” under wraps since the shooting began in 2021. On Tuesday, however, they reversed their position by releasing the first glimpse at Ackie portraying the “Queen of the Night” crooner.
View this post on Instagram
Ackie, 29, appeared in the shot with her arms outstretched and her head tilted back, wearing a white t-shirt, a black leather jacket, and jeans – a classic Houston outfit. The backdrop was a swarm of flashing lights that mixed in with the bluish hue of the photo, indicating Houston’s undeniable superstar status.
Houston’s 1987 lead song from her second studio album, “Whitney,” inspired the biopic’s title. It was written by George Merrill, and Shannon Rubicam of the band Boy Meets Girl, who previously collaborated with Houston on another single, “How Will I Know.”
“I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 30th Annual Grammy Awards, marking Houston’s second win in the category.
The Cast Members Of ‘I Want to Dance with Somebody’
Joining Ackie in the cast is Ashton Sanders as Whitney’s ex-husband Bobby Brown, Bria Danielle Singleton as their demised daughter Bobbi Brown. Additionally, Nafessa Williams plays Whitney’s former assistant Robyn Crawford, and Stanley Tucci portrays Davis alongside other talented actors.
The film was written by Anthony McCarten, who also wrote the screenplay for the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and directed by Kasi Lemmons, who directed the black emancipation drama “Harriet.” The production team will have key input from Houston’s estate, represented by the singer’s sister-in-law and former manager, Pat Houston.
Whitney’s mentor, Clive Davis, will produce alongside Larry Mestel, Denis O’Sullivan, Jeff Kalligheri, and McCarten to round off the production team.
Clive Davis Claimed Naomi Ackie Was The Best Choice To Portray Whitney Houston
The showrunners had a difficult time finding someone who could play Houston. Ackie, who aced every level of the audition process for the legendary part, was chosen only after a long search. According to People, Ackie’s audition was so fantastic that one of the showrunners gushed over how well she suited the part.
“Naomi Ackie’s screen test was so powerful, it sent shivers up my spine,” Davis said at the time. “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.”
Dead But Not Forgotten
While Sony’s portrayal of Houston’s rise to fame is promising, it isn’t the first-time filmmakers have attempted to tell the singer’s story.
“Whitney,” a prior Houston biography starring “America’s Next Top Model” veteran Yaya DaCosta as the singer, was released on Lifetime in 2015. In 2018, BET released “The Bobby Brown Story,” a miniseries starring Gabrielle Dennis as Houston.
The anticipation for “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” is high, not only because of fans’ love for Houston but also because of Ackie’s acting prowess, already seen in films like “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “The Corrupted,” “Yardie,” and the tragic Shakespearean dramedy “Lady Macbeth.”
On December 21, 2022, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” will be released in theaters around the country.
View this post on Instagram