Whitney Houston Biopic Finds Its Star in Naomi Ackie

Stella Meghie will direct ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ for Sony’s TriStar label, with backing from the Whitney Houston estate and music producer Clive Davis.

After a worldwide search, Naomi Ackie has been chosen to play iconic performer Whitney Houston in the biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

The British actress, who had a pivotal role in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, is in negotiations for the feature from Sony and its TriStar division, which has set the movie for a Thanksgiving 2022 release.

Anthony McCarten, who wrote Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, penned the screenplay, while Stella Meghie, who was behind the Issa Rae romance The Photograph, is set to direct.

“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.”

Houston, who earned six Grammys over her expansive career, is one of the best-known recording artists of all time, selling more than 200 million records worldwide, with hit songs that include “Saving All My Love for You,” “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” She made her acting debut in the 1992 blockbuster hit The Bodyguard, recording six songs for the film’s soundtrack, including “I Will Always Love You.” She died in 2012 at 48.

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