Naomi Ackie Will Play Whitney Houston in 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' Biopic
By John Boone
From Star Wars to one of the biggest stars in history: Naomi Ackie will portray Whitney Houston in I Wanna Dance With Somebody, ET can confirm.
The biopic, which hails from Sony and TriStar Pictures in partnership with the Houston estate, is billed as a "no holds barred" look at the musician's life and legacy "informed by those who knew her best." Notably, it appears Ackie will not be recording her own version of Houston's songs, though, but the film will use the original tracks.
"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," director Stella Meghie said in a statement. "I was moved by her ability to capture the stage presence of a global icon while bringing humanity to her interior life."
Ackie also received the seal of approval from Houston's sister-in-law and estate executor, Pat, and Clive Davis, who both serve as producers on the film.
"All Whitney fans have an appetite for perfection when it comes to Whitney and her Legacy," Pat Houston said. "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."
Davis, meanwhile, added that, "Naomi 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."
Ackie broke out in last year's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, though she won the BAFTA for Most Promising Newcomer for 2016's Lady Macbeth and recently starred in Steve McQueen's Small Axe.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody will arrive Thanksgiving 2022.