Watch: Naomi Ackie talks to Yahoo about playing Whitney Houston
As I Want To Dance With Somebody, the biopic of the legendary Whitney Houston is set to hit theaters on Boxing Day, the film’s star Naomi Ackie has revealed audiences will be hear his own voice in the film.
Earlier in the year, it was announced that the singer’s distinctive voice would provide vocals in I Wanna Dance With Somebody, but speaking to Yahoo UK, Ackie revealed that she “sings a little” after all.
“I sing the first song you hear in the movie, when it’s much younger and needed polishing up,” she explained.
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“But the biggest part is Whitney. I just sing for the dramatic beats, so I sing in one of the office scenes, when she picks a track. But I don’t do it too much. 97.9% it’s Whitney!
The film traces the life story of one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. Nicknamed The Voice, Houston was discovered at the tender age of 19, going on to a glittering career that included seven consecutive number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as two Emmys and six Grammies.
She also enjoyed success as an actress, notably in her first film, The Bodyguard (1992), in which she sang one of her most enduring tunes, I Will Always Love You. The new film also delves into her turbulent private life, including her relationship with her family and her husband, Bobby Brown (Ashton Sanders).
Watch an excerpt from I Wanna Dance With Somebody
Ackie took a level-headed approach to playing such a musical icon, a role she realizes she could identify with for the rest of her career. “You take your time and try to do the job the best you can and keep that stuff out of your head,” she said, talking about her preparation.
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“I think it was a bit difficult to keep this out of my head, considering how big it was. I tried to scale it down to look like any job and approach it the same way. Hope the work speaks for itself.
It’s the first major lead role for the Camden-born actor, whose breakthrough came in Lady Macbeth (2016), a performance which earned him a BIFA for most promising newcomer.
She also won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for The End Of The F**king World and was most recently seen earlier this year in British thriller The Score, alongside Will Poulter and Johnny Flynn.
This new look at life in Houston, directed by Kasi Lemmons (Harriet) and written by Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody, The Theory Of Everything) also stars Stanley Tucci, Nafessa Williams, Tamara Tunie and Clarke Peters.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody hits theaters on Boxing Day. Watch a trailer below.