When Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012, fans were heartbroken to discover that our icon was no longer with us. Like friends and fellow legends Michael Jackson and Prince, Jackson was never supposed to die — she was supposed to live forever. Thankfully, the Whitney Houston Estate has a brilliant plan to make sure that her legacy stays with us until the end of time. More than eight years after her tragic passing, Houston will be getting her very own motion picture biopic.
Tentatively titled I Wanna Dance with Somebody, the film will lay out the details of the singer’s life, from her origins as a soloist in the choir of Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church to her incredible career as the most-awarded female artist of all time. The unnamed biopic will also explore the most intimate details of Houston's personal life, including her explosive relationship with ex-husband Bobby Brown and her struggle with addiction.
It won’t be the first Houston biopic to exist, but it will be the biggest. In 2015, Lifetime premiered a biographical drama based on the superstar, casting America’s Next Top Model runner-up and actress Yaya DaCosta to play the lead. Angela Bassett, who directed the made-for-TV film, is no stranger to the biopic genre. Bassett notably starred as Tina Turner in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do with It.
Determined to tell the fallen star’s full story, the Whitney Houston Estate has scouted Oscar-nominated screenwriter and producer Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything, Bohemian Rhapsody) to pen the drama’s screenplay. Houston superfan Stella Meghie is in advanced talks to direct the film. McCarten and Meghie will have the support of music executive producer Clive Davis and Houston’s sister-in-law and former manager Pat, in collaboration with the late singer’s estate.
“Whitney’s legacy deserves only the best that can be given,” said her sister-in-law in a statement. “I stand with the hearts of these partners being the chosen ones to produce a film that’s uplifting and inspiring to all that loved her, giving you a reason to continue to celebrate The Voice that we all fell in love with and will cherish forever!”
There’s no word yet on who will play Houston in I Wanna Dance with Somebody, but the stakes for this project are sky high. We’ve seen good biopics, and we’ve also suffered through our share of bad biopics — it’s crucial that we get this story right.