A big screen biopic about the late Whitney Houston is underway.
Actress Naomi Ackie is set to play the superstar in an upcoming movie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody. Kasi Lemmons, who directed 1997’s Eve’s Bayou, has been brought on to replace Stella Meghie as the director.
“Creative differences” were cited as the reason for Meghie’s exit.
“Preparing to play Whitney Houston has been an incredible experience,” Ackie said to Deadline. “I’ve learned so much more about her and myself than I could have imagined. I’m so excited to get on that film set and honor her legacy! With Kasi on board, I know we can create something truly wonderful.”
The Houston estate is in full cooperation with the film, which will be produced by Clive Davis, who helped guide Houston’s career throughout the years. It will also be produced by Houston’s sister-in-law, Pat Houston.
The project will be written by Anthony McCarten, who also wrote the screenplay for Bohemian Rhapsody. It will be released on Thanksgiving Day 2022.
In conversation with Vulture, Davis commented on Ackie’s ability to embody Houston. “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,” he said.
Although this will be her biggest role to date, Ackie had a role in Steve McQueen’s Amazon Prime Video anthology Small Axe‘s “Education.” She was also in the Netflix series The End of the F—-ing World and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Houston’s sister-in-law assured fans who have “an appetite for perfection when it comes to Whitney” will enjoy the film and that “Ackie was selected based on her quality performances and her deep commitment to emerging into the woman that we all loved.”
Houston, who earned six Grammys and sold more than 200 million records worldwide, is the most awarded female artist of all time. She is best known for hits like “I Will Always Love You,” “Saving All My Love for You,” and “The Greatest Love of All.” She died in 2012.