Star Wars actress Naomi Ackie to play Whitney Houston in biopic “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

To the music world, Whitney Houston is still heralded as one of the most beloved singers of our time.

The celebrated yet tragic artist performed timeless hits like “I Will Always Love You” and “How Will I Know” and would go on to achieve incredible success on the awards stage including six Grammys and two Emmys.

Her complex life is now set to be the subject of an upcoming biopic that is conveniently named after one of her most memorable hits; I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

Furthermore, it has also been confirmed that rising British actress Naomi Ackie will take on the lucrative part of Whitney with the backing of the Houston estate.

“All Whitney fans have an appetite for perfection when it comes to Whitney and her Legacy. 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.”

Ackie became known to worldwide audiences for her role as Jannah in the most recent Star Wars outing The Rise of Skywalker (2019). Earlier this year, she won a TV BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Bonnie in the second series of The End of the F***ing World, and can currently be seen in the anthology drama Small Axe: Education.

Fresh from penning the script to the hit music biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), Anthony McCarten is onboard as screenwriter with Stella Meghie (The Weekend, Insecure) behind the camera as director.

Producer Clive Davis posted his thoughts on the casting which confirmed that Ackie will be lip-syncing to Whitney’s music.

“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.”

For Oscar historians, it is worth remembering that the likes of Jamie Foxx (Ray), Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) and Rami Malek (BoRhap) all won Academy Awards for lip-syncing so Ackie could well end up in decent company!

Despite her tragic death in 2012, it is great to see Whitney’s career getting the big-screen treatment!

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