Whitney Houston biopic gets new director
Kasi Lemmons has replaced Stella Meghie as the director of the Whitney Houston biopic 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'.
The hotly-anticipated film, which will see 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' actress Naomi Ackie portray the late music legend, has a new helmer after Meghie quit the project over creative differences.
'Harriet' filmmaker Lemmons told Deadline: "Early in my writing career I developed two projects for Whitney and I had the opportunity to meet her. 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."
The script comes from 'Bohemian Rhapsody' scribe Anthony McCarten, and Whitney's long-time mentor, Clive Davis, is producing the flick.
The latter said: “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."
Ackie said: "Preparing to play Whitney Houston has been an incredible experience. I’ve learnt so much more about her and myself than I could have imagined. I’m so excited to get on that film set and honour her legacy! With Kasi on board, I know we can create something truly wonderful."
Davis previously hailed the BAFTA-winner's screen test as spine-tinglingly "powerful".
He said: "Naomi Ackie’s screen test was so powerful, it sent shivers up my spine. “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.”
The movie - which is set to be released in November 2022 - will follow the life and career of the superstar - who was tragically found dead in her bath in February 2012, aged 48, after taking cocaine.
Aside from her storied music career, Whitney - whose hits include 'I Will Always Love You' and 'How Will I Know' - made her acting debut in 1992's 'The Bodyguard'.