I Wanna Dance With Somebody Trailer: Naomi Ackie Looks Transformative As Whitney Houston

It's still hard to imagine how musical biopics can exist in a post "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" world, but the last few years have been bursting with big-budget biopics centered on some of the most iconic performers in music history. Jennifer Hudson belted her face off as Aretha Franklin in "Respect," Taron Egerton was downright dazzling as Elton John in "Rocketman," Austin Butler may be looking at an Oscar nomination for his turn in "Elvis," following a trend set by Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody." Now, the queen of R&B is getting a high-profile film of her own, with Naomi Ackie as Whitney Houston.

The upcoming film "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" comes from "Bohemian Rhapsody" screenwriter Anthony McCarten and groundbreaking director Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou," "Talk to Me," "Harriet"), with Ackie lip-syncing to Houston's unbelievable voice while embodying the remarkably talented woman the world lost too soon. The trailer features the tagline "The Whitney you never knew," which is a bold claim to make considering how vulturous the media has been about Houston's life since her untimely passing. This also isn't the first time "The Voice" has gotten the biopic treatment, with Angela Bassett directing Yaya DaCosta in the Lifetime Original Movie, "Whitney." 

Will this new biopic from Sony actually deliver some untold stories? Only time will tell.

Watch the trailer for I Wanna Dance With Somebody

The trailer highlights some of Whitney Houston's most memorable moments, including her gravity-defying hair in the 1980s, the deep burgundy lip from the video for "It's Not Right but It's Okay," her sequined stage catsuit, her white mesh-sleeved wedding gown, the black blazer from "I Will Always Love You," and of course, the white Prada tracksuit from Super Bowl XXV. It's hard not to feel emotional as Ackie breathes new life into Houston, presenting her as a self-assured, confident, beautiful woman. Most of the trailer is backed by Houston's rendition of the song from which the movie gets its name, but when we finally get to hear Ackie speak, she's clearly done her homework. "Look, I don't know how to sing Black, and I don't know how to sing white, either," she tells a radio DJ criticizing her music. "I know how to sing."

Ackie is joined by Stanley Tucci as producer Clive Davis, Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown, Tamara Tunie as Cissy Houston, Clarke Peters as John Houston, and Nafessa Williams as Robyn Crawford. The latter casting is interesting as Crawford has been very open about her and Houston's intimate relationships in the wake of her passing, an area that is seldom explored outside of sensationalism. The trailer doesn't showcase some of the darker elements of Houston's life, but that isn't to say the film won't acknowledge it. Music biopics have been distilled down to a science at this point, but here's hoping Lemmons has some interesting choices up her sleeve.

"I Wanna Dance With Somebody" arrives in theaters on December 21, 2022.