TriStar Pictures acquires Whitney Houston biopic, taps Stella Meghie to helm
A few months after announcing development on the surefire award-worthy project, Sony’s TriStar Pictures has won the rights to the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody from screenwriter Anthony McCarten and tapped Stella Meghie (The Photograph) to direct, according to Deadline.
The studio is already looking to fast-track the project as they have slated the film for a Thanksgiving 20222 release date, just in time for the Oscars season.
“Whitney just makes you want to get out of your seat and sing and dance!” TriStar Pictures head Nicole Brown said in a statement. “She is anthemic in every way. Anthony McCarten has bottled that up in his masterful screenplay bringing this beloved legend to life in a way we’ve never seen her – funny, exhilarating, aspirational, complex and incredibly human. Add to that Stella Meghie, a diehard fan, who is so gifted at telling beautiful, modern, feminine tales. With the guidance of Pat Houston, the legendary Clive Davis, Larry Mestel, and Denis O’Sullivan we have the absolute dream team to create the ultimate celebration of Whitney’s incredible life and musical achievements.”
After 7 studio albums, 6 Grammy wins, 9 world tours, and countless memorable hit songs later, Whitney Houston is still regarded as one of the most iconic and influential artists of all time. Even after her untimely death eight years ago at the age of 48, her legacy continues to live on through all of the old and new singers she had inspired by her immense talent and music. She had also earned the title of most awarded female artist of all time by the Guinness World Records and is still one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide.
“It is thrilling to have the opportunity to bring such an extraordinary global icon to life on the big screen,” Sony Motion Picture Group President Josh Greenstein said in a statement. “Musically-driven films have always held a special place in theaters and this remarkable story will help further our fierce commitment to the theatrical experience.”
Houston is also best known for her acting debut film, The Bodyguard starring alongside Kevin Costner which had become the second highest-grossing film worldwide in 1992 and its soundtrack also became the best-selling soundtrack album of all time with the song “I Will Always Love You.” Her other notable film credits include: Forest Whitaker’s 1995 romance film Waiting to Exhale; Penny Marshall’s The Preacher’s Wife opposite Denzel Washington; and the Disney musical TV film, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella which had earned 7 Emmy nominations.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody, a title derived from one of Houston’s iconic songs, will be produced by Grammy-winning producer Clive Davis, the one who had helped Houston signed her first record deal at Arista Records when she was 19 years old. The film is a co-production by The Whitney Houston Estate and Primary Wave. Pat Houston, the late singer’s former manager and sister-in-law, will also serve as a producer along with Primary Wave’s Larry Mester and Denis O’Sullivan.
Anthony McCarten, the writer behind the critically-acclaimed biopics such as The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour, Bohemian Rhapsody and the upcoming Bee Gees biopic, will also be writing the script for the Whitney Houston biopic and will be producing through his Muse of Fire Productions banner.
(Photo Credit: Scott Gries/ImageDirect)