Naomi Ackie Transforms Into Whitney Houston For New Biopic

based on a film The take on the life of the late pop icon Whitney Houston is bound for the big screen this winter.

Directed by Kasie Lemons and ending December 21, “I Want to Dance With Somebody” is billed as “an emotional, energetic journey through Houston’s career and music”. The six-time Grammy winner is portrayed by Naomi Ackie, whose credits include “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” and Netflix’s “Master of None”.

Sony Pictures on Thursday gave fans the first glimpse of “I Want to Dance With Somebody” through a new trailer. In it, Ackie can be seen recreating some of Houston’s most memorable career victories, such as his 1991 Super Bowl performance and the 1999 music video for “It’s Not Right But It’s OK.”

The film also stars Stanley Tucci, who is almost unrecognizable in the trailer. The actor plays Clive Davis, the founder of Arista Records credited with discovering Houston at a New York nightclub in the early 1980s.

Watch the trailer for “I Want to Dance With Somebody” below.

Actors Tamara Tunney and Ashton Sanders co-star as Houston’s mother Sissy and ex-husband Bobby Brown, respectively.

Houston died in 2012 at the age of 48. According to the coroner’s report, his death was thought to be an accidental drowning with “atherosclerotic heart disease and the effects of cocaine use”.

Initial reactions to the film’s trailer have been mixed. Although many viewers have praised Ackie’s performance, others have cast doubt on screenwriter Anthony McCartan.

A two-time Academy Award nominee, McCartan penned the script for 2018’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” about famed rock band Queen. Although actor Rami Malek won an Oscar for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, the film was criticized for highlighting the singer’s sexuality and Parsi background.

Robin Crawford (left) and Whitney Houston in 1988.

Dave Hogan via Getty Images

Like Mercury, Houston struggled with drug and alcohol addiction during his lifetime. According to Brown and other sources, she was also bisexual. In 2019, Houston’s longtime confidante Robin Crawford confirmed that she and the singer were in a romantic relationship in the ’80s.

Whether “I Want To Dance With Somebody” will touch on any of these remains to be seen. Speaking to People this week, Aki said the film “examines the parts of her life that we know about but through the confines of her inner world.”

“Fans can expect to see his life as we see our own,” she explained. “Ups and downs, victories and disappointments, it all together make up life.”

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