Naomi Ackie Will Play Whitney Houston in an Upcoming Biopic
The 'Stars Wars' star's screen test playing Houston was reportedly "so powerful."
The new Whitney Houston biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, has cast its leading lady. Naomi Ackie, whose breakout role was in 2019's Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, will play the six-time Grammy winner in the film, due out at Thanksgiving of 2022.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody is set to be directed by Stella Meghie, who previously directed the Issa Rae-led romance flick The Photograph, and will be written by Bohemian Rhapsody's Anthony McCarten. The team had been rampantly searching for the perfect actress to "embody Whitney Houston," who passed away in 2012 at the age of 48, as Meghie told The Hollywood Reporter, before landing on Ackie.
“We spent the better part of the last year in an exhaustive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston," Meghie said. "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."
The Houston estate is fully behind the upcoming biopic, and has granted the rights to Houston's story and music to Sony and its TriStar division. Music producer, and producer on the film, Clive Davis said 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," Davis continued. "Naomi is the real deal and I can’t imagine a better choice for this iconic role.”
We are so ready to see Ackie's portrayal of the late Houston on screen. 2022 cannot come fast enough.