Naomi Ackie

Naomi Ackie has some major shoes to fill. The Star Wars alum is channeling her inner Whitney Houston and getting her dancing shoes ready to portray the iconic artist in biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody.


Ackie, who played ex-stormtrooper Jannah in the Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker was announced to play the legendary late singer on Tuesday. Director Stella Meghie released in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter sharing how the rising actress stood out as a major contender in the worldwide search for Whitney's character.

""We spent the better part of the last year in an exhaustive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston," said Meghie. "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."

Bohemian Rhapsody's Anthony McCarten will join Meghie on the project as the writer for Sony and its TriStar division. Houston's sister in law, Pat Houston, will produce the film on behalf of the Houston estate, along with music producer Clive Davis, Larry Mestel, Denis O'Sullivan and Jeff Kalligheri.

Davis shared that the actress':

"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."

The biopic will not shy away from talking about the difficult obstacles that Houston faced, including an incessant battle with drug addiction and a toxic marriage.

You can stream Houston's popular songs in the movie sung by none other than Whitney herself.

This portrayal represents Ackie's largest role to date. The up-and-rising actress can also be seen in Amazon anthology film series Small Axe, Lady Macbeth and Netflix seriesThe End of the F***ing World, the latter of which earned the actress a BAFTA award.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody is slated for release during Thanksgiving weekend of 2022.

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