There was no one quite like Whitney Houston, and now fans will get a fresh look into her life with the movie I Wanna Dance With Somebody. The high-energy film will follow the diva from her early days as a simple nightclub singer to a full-blown superstar, chronicling Whitney at the height of her fame.
There has been tons of buzz surrounding the Whitney biopic, which will come out Dec. 21, 2022. The latest trailer for the film came out November 9, 2022, giving audiences their first glimpse of Naomi Ackie as Whitney. Ashton Sanders plays Whitney’s husband Bobby Brown and Tamara Tunie is Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother. The project prominently features Stanley Tucci as record producer Clive Davis, who also serves as a producer on the movie.
Here’s everything we know so far about I Wanna Dance With Somebody, including the cast, filming details, and release date.
A Look Back at Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston was an instant sensation when she released her song “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” in 1987, at just 19 years old. From there she would go on to win Grammys, star in hit films, and tour worldwide, before her tragic death in 2012.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody offers a sunny look into Whitney’s rise to fame, showing her start as Clive Davis’ protege and her bombshell success. The trailer promised moments from iconic music videos, her 1992 wedding to Bobby Brown, and her 1991 Super Bowl performance.
The preview is packed with bites from the singer’s greatest hits but seems to omit some of the darker parts of Whitney’s life, like her tumultuous relationship with Bobby and her struggle with drugs. This is likely because unlike other unauthorized Whitney biopics, like Lifetime’s 2014 TV movie Whitney directed by Angela Bassett, I Wanna Dance With Somebody has been approved by i wanna dance with somebody song and was given rights to use her musical catalog.
Where and When to Watch
I Wanna Dance With Somebody will come out exclusively in theaters on December 21, 2022, via Sony Pictures. The release date was initially confirmed in Feb. 2022. The movie’s end-of-year release makes it primed for the awards show circuit, in addition to giving it a great chance at the holiday box office.
The first trailer for I Wanna Dance With Somebody came out on September 16. The second official trailer was released November 9. It shows Whitney, played by Naomi Ackie, being told that her music “isn’t black enough.” Whitney takes offense to that. We get glimpses into Whitney’s complicated relationship with her father, John Houston, and her husband, Bobby Brown, as she evolves from a choir singer to a worldwide superstar. Oh, and of course there’s an epic performance to “I Will Always Love You.”
Cast and Crew
- Naomi Ackie plays the one and only Whitney Houston in I Wanna Dance With Somebody. She made an impression with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and a BAFTA-winning role in Netflix’s The End Of The F***Ing World, before landing the part of the diva. The original director of I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Stella Meghie, said at the time of the casting, “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.”
- Ashton Sanders plays Whitney’s husband Bobby Brown. Bobby and Whitney wed in 1992 and had a rollercoaster of a relationship. They divorced in 2007 and the songstress passed away five years later.
- Tamara Tunie plays Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother. Cissy was a gospel and soul singer who pushed her daughter toward the spotlight.
- Stanley Tucci is record producer Clive Davis. Clive discovered Whitney after hearing her at a nightclub in the 80s. He also served as a producer on the film.
Director Kasi Lemmons was in charge of the musical biopic. The filmmaker has a knack for powerful stories, previously helming 2019’s Harriet about abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
The script was in good hands with Anthony McCarten. He’d proven an ace at biopics, working on ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ and The Theory of Everything, which earned him an Oscar nomination.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody began principal photography on August 9, 2021, in Newark, New Jersey and Boston, Massachusetts. Scenes were filmed in Arlington, Massachusetts, as well as at the Worcester Regional Airport, Wang Theater and Cutler Majestic Theatre and Gillette Stadium, in Oct. and Nov. of 2021, per sources.