Whitney Houston Biopic Casts Naomi Ackie as Iconic Diva in Lead Role

It’s official. British actress Naomi Ackie has been cast to play the iconic diva Whitney Houston in the upcoming authorized biopic, I Wanna Dance with Somebody. Variety confirmed that the Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker star would be taking on the role.

It was announced in April that Stella Meghie (The Photograph) would be directing the estate-backed feature film being produced by Pat Houston, the late songstresses sister-in-law, who was also her famed manager.  The screenplay is from Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody) which tops off a buzz-worthy package.

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


Ackie is a star on the rise, and she’s racking up her successes after recently winning this year’s BAFTA TV Award Supporting Actress award for her role in Netflix’s The End of the F**king World.  Ackie also co-starred in Education, a film from Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed UK anthology series, Small Axe.  Next, she’s set to star in the heist musical The Score based on the film of the same name.

“All Whitney fans have an appetite for perfection when it comes to Whitney and her legacy,” Pat Houston said in a statement.  “To transform someone into a matchless icon is virtually impossible but with careful consideration Naomi Ackie was selected based on her quality performances and her deep commitment to emerging into the woman that we all loved. We look forward to taking this journey with her.”

“Naomi Ackie’s screen test was so powerful, it sent shivers up my spine,” Clive Davis, who is also producing the film, said in a statement.  “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.”

I Wanna Dance With Somebody is set to honor the late singer around Thanksgiving 2022.