“We spent the better part of the last year in an exhaustive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston,” Stella Meghie said in a statement. Meghie, known for her film The Photograph starring Issa Rae, is set to direct the upcoming biopic. “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.”
The film has been in cooperation with Houston’s estate. Whitney’s sister-in-law and former manager Pat Houston will serve as the producer for the project.
“All Whitney fans have an appetite for perfection when it comes to Whitney and her legacy,” says Pat in her own statement.
“To transform someone into a matchless icon is virtually impossible. But with careful consideration, Naomi Ackie was selected based on her quality performances and her deep commitment to emerging into the woman that we all loved. We look forward to taking this journey with her.”
Knowns as one of the best-known recording artists of all time, Houston has won six Grammy’s and sold more than 200 million records worldwide.
With permission from Whitney’s estate and producer Clive Davis, the film will include the musical legend’s catalog and vocals. Davis, who will serve as the music producer for the film, was blown away by Ackie’s audition.
“Naomi Ackie’s screen test was so powerful, it sent shivers up my spine,” Davis said. “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.”
I Wanna Dance With Somebody is set to be released Thanksgiving 2022.