Whitney Houston Biopic Casts Naomi Ackie in Lead Role

Whitney Houston and Naomi Ackie (Credit: Arista and Shutterstock)

After close to a year of searching, British actress Naomi Ackie has been chosen to portray Whitney Houston in the upcoming film, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, from Sony TriStar.

The 28-year-old actress rose to prominence on Netflix’s The End of the F—ing World and for her role as Jannah in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

“We spent the better part of the last year in an exhaustive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston,” the film’s director, Stella Meghie, told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

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Bohemian Rhapsody screenwriter Anthony McCarten will be penning the script. THR reports the film is scheduled to be released around Thanksgiving in 2022.

The movie will be executive produced by Houston’s sister-in-law and longtime manager Pat Houston on behalf of the Houston estate, along with music mogul Clive Davis, McCarten via his Muse of Fire Productions and Larry Mestel for Primary Wave Music, which is a partner of the Whitney Houston estate.

Houston’s music catalog will be used in the film along with her vocals.

The Grammy-winning singer died in 2012 at the age of 48, after a music and acting career that lasted over three decades and made her one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, with over 200 million records sold worldwide.

The “Saving All My Love for You” singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony held last month.