According to The Hollywood Reporter, the producers behind the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, have chosen the leading lady to portray the iconic performer. Twenty-eight-year-old British actress Naomi Ackie, who has appeared in Lady Macbeth and most notably Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, is in negotiations to play the role of Houston.
Houston, one of the world’s biggest music stars in the 1980s and 1990s, died in February 2012. She was 48 years old.
Stella Meghie, who is set to direct the upcoming biopic, said, “We spent the better part of the last year in an exhaustive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston,” said Meghie. “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 movie, set to debut during the Thanksgiving 2022 holiday, is being produced by Pat Houston, Whitney’s sister-in-law, music producer Clive Davis, Anthony McCarten, and Larry Mestel. Denis O’Sullivan and Jeff Kalligheri will also produce and finance the project.
“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 added, “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.”
Just last month, Houston was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.