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Naomi Ackie, known for her role in the Hollywood blockbuster, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, has been tapped to play iconic performer Whitney Houston in the upcoming biopic, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stella Meghie will direct the project with backing from the Whitney Houston estate and music producer Clive Davis. Meghie was the director behind Issa Rae’s 2020 romantic flick, “The Photograph.” It will be written by Anthony McCarten, the pen behind Queen’s biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“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.”
Unlike several more recent celebrity biopics, the movie will use the singer’s catalog, including her vocals, with Houston’s estate and Davis’s support.
Davis released a statement the following statement following the announcement.
“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.”
“All Whitney fans have an appetite for perfection when it comes to Whitney and her legacy,” added Davis. “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.”