Dionne Warwick has made clear that she wants no part of an upcoming biopic about the late-great Whitney Houston.
The forthcoming film I Wanna Dance With Somebody, follows Houston’s life and rise to fame. Executive Producer Clive Davis previously said that the project will be a “no holds barred” portrait of the artist, and he won’t sugar-coat anything.
Davis signed Warwick and her young cousin Houston to Arista Records. Speaking to Variety, Davis said, “I have a mission here. I have a mission to make sure that for all time that the full picture of Whitney Houston is captured in a no-holds-barred film that is musically rich and shows her genius and more of her character than we have seen to date.”
Warwick doesn’t want to be involved in the project.
“I want them to let Whitney rest in peace,” Warwick told the Los Angeles Times. “Leave her alone. Ten years [since she died] – it’s time to let her sleep.”
We previously reported that Stella Meghie is out as director of the biopic and Kasi Lemmons has been tapped to replace her.
Lemmons told Deadline, “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.”
Ashton Sanders has been cast as Bobby Brown in I Wanna Dance With Somebody. British actress Naomi Ackie will portray Houston. Ackie is best known for her role on Netflix’s The End of the F***Ing World. She’s also starred in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Steve McQueen’s new anthology series Small Axe.
Ackie said of the biopic, “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.”
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