Metro Weekly

The Whitney Houston Biopic Looks Pretty Incredible

'I Wanna Dance With Somebody,' the first major Whitney Houston biopic, is helmed by actress Naomi Ackie, and she already looks amazing in it.

While it may be nearly impossible to believe, Whitney Houston has now been gone for just over a decade.

With that sad anniversary in the rearview mirror (she passed in February 2012), a retrospective film is coming very soon that details the life, talent, and struggles of the beloved singer, and the trailer makes it look like it’s going to be an amazing retelling – and tribute – to the late, great star.

Titled I Wanna Dance With Somebody, the first major Houston biopic is helmed by actress Naomi Ackie, known for her work in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and TV shows like The Bisexual, The End of the F***ing World, Master of None, and Small Axe.

Ackie’s portrayal, seen through quick snippets, already looks incredible. While she isn’t a dead-ringer for the singer, she has a handle on her mannerisms, and her voice – speaking, that is.

The producers of the film made a smart choice by not requiring Ackie to re-record Houston’s vocals, which would have been a Herculean task, if not impossible. The Grammy winner is known to have possessed one of the greatest singing voices of all time, and nobody can match what she did during her lifetime. Instead of having Ackie attempt to do so, Houston’s original recordings are used, while Ackie does all the rest.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody appears to be a career-spanning biopic, touching on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The trailer opens on a radio interview, during which Houston defends herself against real-life criticisms thrown at her that the music she made wasn’t “black enough.” The short teaser then shows her surrounded by paparazzi, walking down the aisle, arguing with her father over money, and even performing during the Super Bowl, where she memorably delivered perhaps the single best rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” of all time.

It also looks like the movie touches on her alleged same-sex romance with another woman, though the trailer doesn’t give too much away – interested audiences will have to head to a theater to learn everything that’s included (or excluded).

 

Co-produced by legendary music industry mogul and Houston’s longtime friend and supporter Clive Davis, the trailer suggests that I Wanna Dance with Somebody won’t be too focused on the tabloid fodder that fills so much space in the singer’s legacy, but it also won’t avoid it entirely. Davis himself is a character in the movie, played by Staley Tucci, who makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in the teaser.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody was written by four-time Academy Award nominee Anthony McCarten, who has earned Oscar nods for his work on projects like The Two Popes, Darkest Hour, and The Theory of Everything. Interestingly, the trailer doesn’t mention any of those efforts, but rather focuses on the fact that he also wrote another famous music biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody

While I Wanna Dance With Somebody is the first Houston biopic to hit theaters nationwide, it isn’t the first project to focus on her life since her passing. Former co-star and friend to the singer Angela Bassett directed a TV film for Lifetime titled, simply, Whitney. That effort was released in 2015, just three years after her passing.

The Houston biopic is named after, of course, her single of the same name. The tune, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me),” was a massive hit when it was released in 1987, and it remains one of not just the singer’s most beloved compositions, but perhaps one of the most adored tunes of all time. It appealed to a wide audience, went to No. 1 on the Hot 100, and has been declared a gay anthem many times over.

Fans of Houston and movie lovers alike can see I Wanna Dance With Somebody when it arrives in theaters on December 23.

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