The upcoming Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody has found its lead. Naomi Ackie, who recently played Jannah in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, will inhabit the role of the legendary singer.
The biopic is being helmed by Stella Meghie (The Photograph) and penned by Anthony McCarten, who wrote the screenplay for Bohemian Rhapsody. Considering that film won its lead actor, Rami Malek, an Academy Award, there’s a good chance Ackie is in line for similar success here.
Ackie has also had roles in The End Of The F***ing World and Lady Macbeth, and is also starring in the upcoming crime thriller The Score. Here’s the kind things Meghie had to say about her:
“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”. Clive Davis, the huge music producer behind much of Houston’s career, added:
“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”.
Since Bohemian Rhapsody became such a box office behemoth a few years ago, music biopics have been commissioned left and right. Biopics have often been accused of following the same story structure and formula, which could be even more obvious if loads of music-based ones are being released within a small-ish window, but hopefully I Wanna Dance With Somebody can stand on its own.
One thing is for sure though; the name Naomi Ackie will likely be far more well known once this film is released.