Watch Naomie Ackie Channel Whitney Houston in First “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” Trailer

Talk about big shoes to fill and an unmatchable voice to attempt. In fact, Whitney Houston’s singing chops were so out-of-this-world that she was also known as The Voice. Rising star Naomie Ackie accepted the colossal challenge of playing Houston in director Kasi Lemmons’ I Wanna Dance With Somebody, and Sony Pictures has just released the first trailer. Folks? It passes the “induces chills test” the second we get to the first tune.

That first tune, the one that puts Houston on the path to superstardom, came when she was stepping in for her mother Cissy Houston, a talented soul and gospel singer in her own right. That night, as the trailer reveals, legendary record producer Clive Davis (Stanely Tucci) was in attendance. Houston’s almost unimaginably potent voice is captured in its full force. Chille ensue. ,

“She’s been elevated in my life for so long that it felt like an impossible thing to achieve at times,” Ackie told People. “But so many people told me the same thing: If I wasn’t scared and nervous, they’d think something was wrong with me. … The biggest challenge was letting my fear of the magnitude of this task take a back seat. Nothing good comes from sitting in fear for too long.”

Ackie’s performance, at least from this brief glimpse, looks to be on the fearless side of the equation. She’s got a fellow rising star in director Kasi Lemmons running the show, working from a script by Bohemian Rhapsody writer Anthony McCarten. The film aims to capture the Whitney we didn’t know and promises to be a “no-holds-barred portrait” of the cosmically talented, complicated superstar. It’s a challenge, to say the least, to reveal something new about a woman who was in the spotlight for so long, both at her peak and in her darkest moments, but the talent behind I Wanna Dance With Somebody is considerable. If anyone could pull this off, it would be this crew.

Check out the trailer below. I Wanna Dance With Somebody hits theaters on December 21.

Here’s the official synopsis for I Wanna Dance With Somebody:

I Wanna Dance with Somebody is a powerful and triumphant celebration of the incomparable Whitney Houston. Directed by Kasi Lemmons, written by Academy Award® nominee Anthony McCarten, produced by legendary music executive Clive Davis and starring BAFTA Award® winner Naomi Ackie, the film is a no-holds-barred portrait of the complex and multifaceted woman behind The Voice. From New Jersey choir girl to one of the best-selling and most awarded recording artists of all time, audiences are taken on an inspirational, poignant—and so emotional—journey through Houston’s trailblazing life and career, with show-stopping performances and a soundtrack of the icon’s most beloved hits as you’ve never heard them before. Don’t you wanna dance?

For more upcoming films from Sony Pictures, check out these stories:

“The Woman King” DP Polly Morgan on Lensing Viola Davis in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Thrilling Epic

How “Where the Crawdads Sing” VFX Team Elevated the Mystery and Wonder of the Marsh

How “Bullet Train” Editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir Shaped a Thrill Ride

Featured image: Naomie Ackie is Whitney Houston in “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Courtesy Sony Pictures.


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