23rd April, 2020
Whitney Houston is headed back to the big screen in a feature film about the singer’s life that took her to the heights of fame but ended in drug addiction and tragedy.
According to producers, the movie took its title from one of Houston’s biggest hits – “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” – with the backing of the singer’s estate and her longtime record producer and mentor Clive Davis.
They also described the film as a “joyous, emotional and heart-breaking celebration” of Houston’s life and music, but added that it would also be “very frank about the price that super-stardom exacted”.
Houston, 48, whose hits included: “I Will Always Love You” and “Saving All My Love for You,” drowned in her bathtub at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2012 on the eve of the Grammy Awards after taking cocaine.
She had a well-chronicled and years-long battle with drug addiction.
Houston made her screen acting debut in the romantic thriller film The Bodyguard (1992). She recorded six songs for the film’s soundtrack, including “I Will Always Love You”, which received the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and became the best-selling single by a woman in music history.
The soundtrack album received the Grammy Award for Album of the Year; it remains the best-selling soundtrack album in history. Houston starred and recorded soundtracks for two other high-profile films, Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996), with the latter’s soundtrack becoming the best-selling gospel album in history.
She also made several other movies.
Since her death, the six-time Grammy winner has been the subject of several documentaries but the feature film is the first approved version of her life.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” writer Anthony McCarten has penned the screenplay and indie filmmaker Stella Meghie is in advanced talks to direct, producers said in a statement.
No casting or release date was announced.
Musical biopics have surged in popularity in the past two years thanks to the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody” – the story of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury which won four Oscars in 2019 – and Elton John’s rise to fame in “Rocketman”.