I Wanna Dance With Somebody: Kasi Lemmons to Helm Whitney Houston Biopic
(Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage via Getty Images)

I Wanna Dance With Somebody: Kasi Lemmons to Helm Whitney Houston Biopic

According to Deadline, acclaimed filmmaker Kasi Lemmons (Harriet) has officially signed on to helm TriStar Pictures’ forthcoming Whitney Houston biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which will still be led by Naomi Ackie (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker). Lemmons will be replacing Stella Meghie (The Photograph), who has decided to give up directorial duties on the project due to creative differences. However, she will still remain an executive producer.

“Early in my writing career I developed two projects for Whitney and I had the opportunity to meet her,” Lemmons said in a statement. “She was a tremendous, incomparable artist and her story is as awe-inspiring as it is tragic. I feel privileged to be part of bringing her life story and music to the audience.”

“Properly telling the honest, ‘no-holds-barred’ story of Whitney Houston is an exceptional responsibility. Kasi Lemmons not only brings a highly-acclaimed, award-winning track record but possesses a clear understanding of Whitney as the matchless icon who triumphed musically while valiantly struggling with addiction,” said producer Clive Davis, who is the legendary record executive that first discovered Whitney’s talents in 1983 and worked with her throughout her career.

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I Wanna Dance With Somebody, a title derived from one of Houston’s iconic songs, will be written by Anthony McCarten, the scribe behind acclaimed biopics such as Darkest Hour, and Bohemian Rhapsody. Producers are McCarten, Grammy-winning producer Clive Davis, Pat Houston, and Primary Wave’s Larry Mester & Denis O’Sullivan.

The film is a co-production by The Whitney Houston Estate and Primary Wave. Due to the blessing of Houston’s estate and Davis, the project has been authorized to use the late singer’s catalog and vocals. Nicole Brown, Shary Shirazi, and Brittany Morrissey are also set to oversee the project on behalf of TriStar Pictures.

The Naomi Acki-led film is currently slated to arrive in theaters in Thanksgiving 2022.

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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.

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.


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