Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Naomi Ackie has been cast as the late Whitney Houston in the upcoming biopic I Want To Dance With Somebody.
Rising star Ackie is so far best known for her work in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Episode IX).
Her casting was confirmed by I Wanna Dance director Stella Meghie today.
"Naomi Ackie impressed us at every stage of the process"
In a statement to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, Meghie said: "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."
“[Naomi's] screen test was so powerful, it sent shivers up my spine,” said record producer Clive Davis, one of the film’s producers.
“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.”
The movie will be scripted by Bohemian Rhapsody writer Anthony McCarten.
Ackie won a BAFTA TV award for her role in Channel 4's The End of the F***king World this year.
She is also known for roles in TV show The Bisexual and drama film Lady Macbeth.
Houston, who was bisexual, is known for hits like I Will Always Love You and So Emotional. She died in 2012. The coroner's report showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody is scheduled for release around Thanksgiving 2022.