British actress Naomi Ackie will be playing Whitney Houston in the upcoming biopic ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ centred on the life of the late singer.
Stella Meghie (The Photograph) is attached to direct. Anthony McCarten is penning the script, which will be executive produced by Denis O’Sullivan and Jeff Kalligheri via their outfit Compelling Pictures. TriStar Pictures is producing alongside its parent company Sony. Nicole Brown, Shary Shirazi, and Brittany Morrissey will oversee the project for TriStar.
The Hollywood Reporter confirms that, the film has the support of Whitney’s estate and as a result use the singer’s catalog, including her vocals.
Ackie, who bagged a BAFTA Award this year for the Netflix series ‘The End of the F***ing World’ is credited with films such as ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ and Steve McQueen’s anthology series ‘Small Axe’. Her next appearance will be in the heist musical “The Score” with Will Poulter and Johnny Flynn.
“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.
Pat Houston, who is producing on behalf of Whitney Houston’s estate, added, “All Whitney fans have an appetite for perfection when it comes to Whitney and her Legacy. To transform someone into a matchless Icon is virtually impossible but with careful consideration Naomi Ackie was selected based on her quality performances and her deep commitment to emerging into the woman that we all loved. We look forward to taking this journey with her.”
In an expansive career that saw her win multiple awards on different platforms, Whitney released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. She is rated as one of the greatest artists of all time.
Ackie is repped by CAA, Hamilton Hodell, Range Media Partners, Peikoff Mahan and Personal PR.