Naomi Ackie Embodies Whitney Houston in Powerful ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ First Trailer

·2-min read

Sony is bringing the spirit of Whitney Houston to theaters.

The studio has released the first trailer for “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” a biographical drama about the life and times of the iconic singer.

More from Variety

“The End of the F***ing World” star Naomi Ackie has the daunting task of portraying the legendary vocal powerhouse in the film, along with a cast that includes Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown and Stanley Tucci as Clive Davis. Clarke Peters will be playing John Houston, Whitney’s father, and Tamara Tunie will be portraying Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother.

Sony describes “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” as a “no-holds-barred portrait of the complex and multifaceted woman behind The Voice.” The film recounts the story of a New Jersey choir girl who became one of the best-selling and most awarded recording artists of all time.

“My dream? Sing what I want to sing, be how I want to be,” Ackie’s Houston says in the trailer. “Reach as big an audience as I can.”

At one point in the clip, Houston is told a common criticism is that her music “isn’t Black enough,” to which she confidently responds: “Look, I don’t know how to sing Black, and I don’t know how to sing white either. I know how to sing.”

Anyone with the faintest awareness of Houston’s career — her biggest songs include “Greatest Love of All,” “I Have Nothing,” and, of course, the hit that inspired the film’s title “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” — knows that to be true. She became an instant sensation with her self-titled debut album in 1985, which was released by Davis and Arista Records, and she ushered out two No. 1 follow-ups with “Whitney” (1987) and “I’m Your Baby Tonight” (1990).

She made her acting debut alongside Kevin Costner in 1992’s romantic drama “The Bodyguard,” which became a commercial smash despite negative reviews. Houston later played the Fairy Godmother in “Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and produced the Disney movies “The Princess Diaries” and “The Cheetah Girls.” Later in her career, Houston struggled with drug addiction and died in 2012 at age 48 from drowning in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub.

Kasi Lemmons, best known for “Harriet,” is directing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” from a script by “Bohemian Rhapsody” screenwriter Anthony McCarten. Sony has scheduled the movie to release in theaters on Dec. 21.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.