‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’—What We Know About the Whitney Houston Biopic So Far

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

If Milli Vanilli is getting the biopic treatment this year, Whitney Houston is long overdue for hers.

While the much-needed biographical drama has been confirmed, what about the details? Check out what we’ve sleuthed so far.

The Story

One of the best-selling music artists of all time with over 200 million records sold worldwide and one of the biggest pop icons, having influenced mega voices like Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, and countless others, with a voice so powerful and distinctive she was nicknamed “The Voice,” the “I’m Every Woman” singer will soon be forever immortalized in film.

Titled after her instantly recognizable 1987 hit, I Wanna Dance With Somebody follows the life and career of the late R&B legend, however, specific details of the biopic’s plot have been kept under wraps.

Rumored to be largely centered around her explosion into superstardom, the film will most likely touch on her tumultuous later life, as well. According to Deadline, the producers of the film have described their vision as a “joyous, emotional and heart-breaking celebration of the life and music of the greatest female R&B pop vocalist of all time, tracking her journey from obscurity to musical superstardom. While being very frank about the price that super-stardom exacted, it will be both the rich and complex saga of the search for the perfect marriage between song and singer and audience, and at the same time the moving tale of a simple Jersey girl trying to find her way back home.”

The Cast

Up-and-coming British actress Naomi Ackie will star as Houston. Wu-Tang: An American Saga actor, Ashton Sanders will play Houston’s husband and fellow-artist Bobby Brown. Stanley Tucci is set to appear as music mogul and shepherd of Houston’s career, Clive Davis. Houston’s assistant Robyn Crawford will be portrayed by Nafessa Williams with Clarke Peters and Tamara Tunie starring as the singer’s parents John and Cissy Houston.

Although no footage has been officially released, the first look of Ackie as the “I Will Always Love You” star can be seen in the movie’s poster, below.

The Credits

I Wanna Dance With Somebody is directed by Kasi Lemmons and written by Anthony McCarten, whose 2019 Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, took home four Oscars.

The aforementioned Clive Davis, who will be portrayed in the story, is a producer on the film and told USA TODAY last year, teasing the film will strive for a “very realistic, very honest story.”

The Release

Filming reportedly began in early August of last year with shooting locations in Newark, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. The film is scheduled for a holiday release on December 21, 2022.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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