The trailer for the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Bohemian Rhapsody writer Anthony McCarten and Harriet director Kasi Lemmons is here, and it is promising.
Naomi Ackie, of Star Wars and The End of the F***ing World fame, stars as the Newark-born singer who enchanted the world with her larger-than-life voice ever since she broke into the music scene in 1983.
The movie also stars The Devil Wears Prada‘s Stanley Tucci as Clive Davis, the music executive credited with launching Houston’s career, and Black Lightning‘s Nafessa Williams as the singer’s best friend and rumored former lover Robyn Crawford. Better Call Saul‘s Tamara Tunie plays gospel singer and Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, and Moonlight‘s Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown, among many others.
It’s described by Sony Pictures as “a no-holds-barred portrait of the complex and multifaceted woman behind The Voice,” and judging by the trailer, should follow Houston’s life from the moment she signed with Clive Davis, who is also a producer in the film.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody follows another 2022 release, Netflix’s Beauty, which was an unofficial Whitney Houston biopic that never received backing from the Houston family or ever made any direct references to any real people, despite being heavily suggestive. The reason is conjectured to be down to Beauty writer Lena Waithe’s desire to explicitly portray Houston’s queer romantic relationship with Robyn, who goes by Jasmine in the film. As such, it’s unclear whether I Wanna Dance With Somebody will touch on that side of Houston’s life, despite Robyn confirming the two women’s involvement in her 2019 memoir A Song for You: My Life With Whitney Houston.
After becoming one of the greatest entertainers of her generation and achieving great success as both a singer and an actress, Houston sadly passed away in 2012 at 48 years old from accidental drowning and the effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody is releasing exclusively in movie theaters Dec. 21.