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 is in negotiations for the feature from Sony and its TriStar division, which has set the movie for a Thanksgiving 2022 release.
Ackie won a Bafta TV Award earlier this year for her performance in the show, ‘The End of the F***ing World.’
She has also appeared in Doctor Who, Yardie, and played Jannah in 2019 film ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.’
In a statement, director Stella Meghie said: “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. I was moved by her ability to capture the stage presence of a global icon while bringing humanity to her interior life.”
Producer Clive Davis, the mega-music producer behind much of Houston’s career, 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. Naomi is the real deal and I can’t imagine a better choice for this iconic role.”
Anthony McCarten, who wrote Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, will pen the screenplay.
‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ will follow the life and times of Houston, and comes hot on the heels of the success of films such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, which was based on the life and music of Sir Elton John.
Houston 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.’