It looks like the Whitney Houston biopic "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" has found it's new director! Kasi Lemmons, who most know for her brilliant acting in such films as "Silence of the Lambs", "The Five Heartbeats" and "Candyman" has switched gears and gotten behind the camera. Her directorial work on her first feature, Eve’s Bayou, was recently selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.
Lemmons joins the TriStar Pictures production after the departure of Stella Meghie, who insiders told Deadline parted ways with the project due to creative differences.
“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,” Lemmons said.
It's good to know that Houston and Lemmons had a working relationship in the past. We feel it helps when those involved in biopics have met with the film's subject or at least their family members. We've all seen a film or two where things weren't accurate because somebody wasn't consulted, haven't we?
“We are so pleased to be working with a talented and visionary female director such as Kasi Lemmons. We know that Whitney’s legacy is safe in her hands and that she will showcase the once-in-a-lifetime icon that Whitney was,” said Pat Houston, Whitney's sister-in-law.
The film is now rolling along and it even has it's leading lady!
“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,” says Naomi Ackie who has been tapped to play the iconic singer.
In case you didn't know, Houston is the most awarded female music artist of all time and is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, selling more than 200 million records worldwide. Houston won six Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards and two Emmy Awards, among many others. Houston made her acting debut with the romantic thriller film The Bodyguard, which she recorded six songs for the film’s soundtrack, including “I Will Always Love You”. The song won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and became the best-selling physical single by a woman in music history. The soundtrack album won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and remains the best-selling soundtrack album in history. In 2020, Whitney was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and became the first black artist to have 3 RIAA Diamond Awards.
"I Wanna Dance with Somebody" is set to be released Thanksgiving of 2022!