The estate of the late Whitney Houston, along with Clive Davis, announced last year that an official biopic—I Wanna Dance With Somebody—dedicated to Houston’s life and career was in the works. They initially tapped The Photograph‘s Stella Meghie to direct, but Meghie has since stepped down citing creative differences.
The director of Harriet and Eve’s Bayou, Kasi Lemmons, has been tapped as Meghie’s replacement. 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.”
Davis, the film’s executive producer, also spoke on the replacement. “Properly telling the honest, ‘no-holds-barred’ story of Whitney Houston is an exceptional responsibility. Kasi Lemmons not only brings a highly acclaimed, award-winning track record but possesses a clear understanding of Whitney as the matchless icon who triumphed musically while valiantly struggling with addiction.”
On behalf of the estate, Pat Houston expressed, “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.”
Meghie will remain on as executive producer and Naomi Ackie (Master of None: Moment In Love) is set to star as Houston.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody is slated for a Thanksgiving 2022 release in theaters.