Naomie Ackie as Whitney Houston in I Wanna Dance With Somebody

‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’: Movie Release Date, Trailer, Soundtrack, and More

It’s nearly impossible to just read the phrase “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” without Whitney Houston’s rich, soulful voice filling your head with the chorus of one of her most popular singles. Few singers in the world have attained the success that Houston did, as she rose to become one of the best-selling music artists of all time and influenced a whole generation of singers. Hence, there are few individuals more deserving of a musical biopic than Houston, and she will be getting just that with the upcoming release of Sony Pictures’ I Wanna Dance with Somebody.

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The film is set to star Naomi Ackie as the pop icon, while Stanley Tucci will star alongside her as Houston’s record producer, Clive Davis. However, the film’s impressive talent isn’t just limited to onscreen. Behind the scenes, Anthony McCarten, the writer behind the 2018 film, Bohemian Rhapsody, will be writing and producing I Wanna Dance with Someday. Also, the real-life Clive Davis has signed on to be a producer of the film, which certainly bodes well for the film’s accuracy.

Musical biopics are becoming all the more popular with the recent releases of Rocketman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tick, Tick… BOOM!, and Elvis. Audiences simply can’t resist the perfect mixture of good music, nostalgia, and the ability to witness the rise of a star. Hence, expectations are pretty high for I Wanna Dance with Somebody as it tackles one of the biggest artists in history—who paved the way for countless Black artists after her. Here’s everything we know so far about the Houston biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody release date

I Wanna Dance with Somebody is coming to audiences just in time for the Christmas holiday. The film is set to premiere in the U.S. on December 21, 2022, and will follow up with a December 23rd, 2022, release in the UK. It remains to be seen when, or if, I Wanna Dance with Somebody will land on a streaming service after its theatrical window.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody trailer

The first trailer for I Wanna Dance with Somebody was released on September 15th, 2022 and it definitely capitalizes on the nostalgia and Houston’s awe-inspiring rise to fame.

In the trailer, viewers get a glimpse of how it all started. Houston is performing at a nightclub with her mother, gospel singer Chrissy Houston, when she catches the attention of legendary music producer Clive Davis, who happens to be in attendance. The trailer wastes no time in kicking off the music as Houston’s iconic “How Will I Know” forms the backdrop of the clip. One thing leads to another and Houston can be seen rising to become one of the world’s greatest singers. However, she isn’t wholly without opposition, as she receives complaints about her music not being “Black enough.” Despite the complaints, Houston chooses to forge her own path and create her own style of music outside of what’s expected of her.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody cast

Stanley Tucci in Easy A
(Screen Gems)

In the I Wanna Dance with Somebody trailer, viewers can see Ackie bring Houston to life as she belts out Houston’s iconic lyrics and owns the stage. The English actress has appeared in such works as Doctor Who, The End of the F***king World, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Master of None. Starring opposite Ackie, is Tucci as Davis. The Emmy award-winning actor and filmmaker is best known for starring in The Devil Wears Prada, Julie & Julia, Captain America: The First Avengers, and The Hunger Games series.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star, Tamara Tunie, is set to appear as Houston’s mother, Chrissy. While Whitney’s career certainly eclipsed her mother’s, many forget that Chrissy was a successful singer, too. In her early career, she sang back-up for the likes of Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. As a solo artist, she released 10 albums and won 2 Grammys for her work. Joining Tunie is John Wick and The Wire star, Peter Clarke, who portrays Houston’s father, John Russell Houston. At various times, John served as a talent manager for both Chrissy and Whitney.

Moonlight star, Ashton Sanders, rounds out the Houston family, starring as Houston’s husband, Bobby Brown. Houston and Brown were married for 14 years and had one daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, before they divorced. Black Lightning star, Nafessa Williams, has also joined the cast as Robyn Crawford—Houston’s creative director who was rumored to have had a romantic relationship with Houston. Additionally, Daniel Washington stars as Houston’s brother, Gary Houston, while Lance A. Williams portrays Gerry Griffith, the music executive sometimes credited with being the one to first discover Houston.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody soundtrack

Of course, one of the most highly anticipated components of I Wanna Dance with Somebody is the soundtrack. Soundtracks are a necessity and a favorite of most films, but in a music biopic, they’re truly the backbone of the film. Meanwhile, fans of Houston simply can’t wait to see which of Houston’s hits will be played throughout the course of the film. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until closer to the release date of I Wanna Dance with Somebody, as the film’s soundtrack hasn’t been released yet.

However, from the trailer, we know that “How Will I Know,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” and “The Star Spangled Banner” (Houston’s Super Bowl XXV version) will all be featured in the film for sure. We can also anticipate that some of her other most iconic hits, such as “I Will Always Love You,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” “Saving All My Love For You,” and “I’m Every Woman,” are likely to make an appearance, too. What we know for sure is that I Wanna Dance with Somebody won’t have a lack of top-notch songs to choose from.

Is Houston’s voice used in I Wanna Dance with Somebody?

Naomie Ackie as Whitney Houston in I Wanna Dance with Somebody
(Sony Pictures)

The biggest question that comes with the rise of these musical biopics, is whose voice will be used? Films like Elvis mixed the original singer’s voice with the actor’s, while films like Bohemian Rhapsody mainly used lip-syncing. I Wanna Dance with Somebody has chosen to go the lip-syncing route. While Ackie is a talented actress who can capture Houston’s personality and stage presence, she won’t be doing any actual singing. Houston’s voice will be the only voice performing her songs in the film, as no one could ever quite match her vocal prowess.

Clive Davis told USA Today, “The (singing) voice, of course, will be Whitney‘s. When it came to Whitney, we just didn’t think anyone could capture her vocal genius, so it will be the Whitney voice in the film.”

(featured image: Sony Pictures)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.