Following the recent addition of Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown, Deadline brings word that Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones) has officially signed on to join Naomi Ackie in TriStar Pictures’ upcoming Whitney Houston biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Tucci is set to portray the role of legendary music producer Clive Davis, who was the one that guided Houston throughout her music career. The 89-year-old Grammy-winning producer is also serving as a producer on the project.
Earlier this month, the acclaimed actor made headlines after he revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer three years ago and had already undergone treatments including a high dose of radiation and chemotherapy which also led to him having a feeding tube for six months. Thankfully, Tucci confirmed that his tumor has already been successfully treated and he has now recovered from it.
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I Wanna Dance With Somebody, a title derived from one of Houston’s iconic songs, will be directed by Kasi Lemmons (Harriet) from a screenplay 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, with Stella Meghie (The Photograph), who was previously attached to direct, still serving as an executive producer.
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. Black Label Media has also signed on to serve as a co-financier with Compelling Pictures and Primary Wave Musical.
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 earned 7 Emmy nominations.