British actress’s performance as Whitney Houston takes family aback

Director thinks Naomi Ackie’s portrayal of the late singer in the biographical movie “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” reflects her essence.

Naomi Ackie
British actress Naomi Ackie as Whitney Houston CREDIT: Emily Aragones/CTMG

Naomi Ackie, a Walthamstow native who won a competitive international audition to play the late Whitney Houston, shocked the late singer’s family during a screening of the biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which is set for release in the UK on Boxing Day.

According to director Kasi Lemmon, who also said that Houston’s former bandleader and music director Rickey Minor was “shaking” because “she’s too good, she’s so much like her,” the BAFTA-winning actress was able to capture the “spirit of Whitney.” The director affirmed, “There was this impression from the initial screen-test, but there was also this feeling with the finished production, that she had truly nailed it.

The surviving members of the singer’s family were said to have been overtaken with emotion after witnessing her brought to life in a significant new film, according to Lemmon, according to reports from The Telegraph. Lemmon said, “She had to sing like Whitney, breathe like Whitney, and pull it off, pitch flawless, take after take.” He said that the two spent countless hours reviewing old tapes to make sure every little nuance of Ackie’s performance was caught.

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