More than a decade after Whitney Houston's untimely death, the biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody will dramatize her story on the big screen. The Sony movie, which is produced by the singer's manager and sister-in-law, Patricia "Pat" Houston, as well as her mentor, recording executive Clive Davis, unveiled its trailer on Thursday.
The two-minute clip depicts a young version of the future star (Naomi Ackie, of Master of None and The End of the F***ing World) giving an impressive performance of "How Will I Know," as Davis (played by Stanley Tucci) watches from the audience. "I might've just heard the greatest voice of her generation," he says.
There are scenes that show Houston hearing her track on the radio for the first time, singing at church, walking out at Super Bowl 1991 to deliver a spectacular version of the national anthem and leaving her 1992 wedding to fellow music artist Bobby Brown. Houston is told that "a common criticism" is that her music "isn't Black enough," and quickly responds, "Look, I don't know how to sing Black, and I don't know how to sing white either. I know how to sing."
While the clip notes that the movie is from Anthony McCarten, the writer of the 2018 Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, it does not mention that Davis and Pat Houston are producers.
Fans seemed to approve of the project focusing more on the Emmy winner's music than on her private life, such as her drug addiction, her tumultuous relationship with Brown and her queer relationship with her best friend, Robyn Crawford. They compared it to Lifetime's 2015 biopic, which starred Yaya DaCosta and was directed by one of Houston's Waiting to Exhale co-stars, Angela Bassett. (It was straightforward about chronicling her turbulent years with Brown.)
"I'm speechless! I wish she was here to see her story told the right way. But I'm so excited to see this movie. It looks so good!" BritBrit Nicole commented beneath the YouTube trailer.
Marcel wrote, "Based on Career not on drugs is enough for me. We’re here for it."
Helen Smith added, "Finally not lifetime and tvone. A real feature film for the queen."
"Say what you want but Naomi Ackie looks stellar as Whitney Houston," JaylenExclusive wrote. "The fact that the trailer showed no drugs , let's me know they focused on the right thing. HER VOICE, and it's about damn time. Yes drugs will be shown because it was apart of her struggles but I'm glad that her main focus is her voice, the tribute Whitney deserves. She was more then her demons!!!"
"Oh, I cannot WAIT to go and see this," im hatten wrote, "and just from looking at this trailer, I already know that this movie will be ONE MILLION TIMES better than that crappy Lifetime biopic (w/ Yaya DeCosta playing Whitney)."
Brown himself told Billboard in May that he was optimistic I Wanna Dance With Somebody would concentrate more on his former wife's talent and achievements.
"I truly hope that they let her rest and also let our relationship rest," Brown said. "I don't know anything about the biopic that Clive is doing. But hopefully it won't dive into our relationship. Hopefully it will be more about the music and not about her personal life."
I Wanna Dance With Somebody arrives in theaters Wednesday, Dec. 21.