The biopic is described as a “no-holds-barred portrait of the complex and multifaceted woman behind ‘The Voice’.” Beginning with Houston's early life in Newark, New Jersey, the film chronicles Houston’s meteoric rise from unknown church girl to global superstar.
Actor Naomi Ackie, star of The End of the F***ing World, plays Houston in the film, along with a cast that includes Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown, Tamara Tunie as Cissy Houston, Houston’s mother, Clarke Peters as her father John Houston, and Stanley Tucci as music legend Clive Davis.
Kasi Lemmons, best known for Harriet, is directing the film and Davis is listed as a producer.
In an interview, Ackie expressed her initial trepidation in portraying the legendary singer.
"She's been elevated in my life for so long that it felt like an impossible thing to achieve at times," she said. "But so many people told me the same thing: If I wasn't scared and nervous, they'd think something was wrong with me…The biggest challenge was letting my fear of the magnitude of this task take a back seat. Nothing good comes from sitting in fear for too long."
Ackie says the filmmakers "managed to fit in so many of our favorite songs" from Houston's expansive discography into the film, which she says conveys "parts of her life that we know about but through the scope of her own internal world."
"Fans can expect to see her life like we see are our own. Ups and downs, triumphs, and disappointments, all of it mixing together to make up a life," she added.
Regarded as one the most iconic artists ever, Houston sold over 200 million records internationally and was inducted into the Grammy, Rhythm and Blues Music, and Rock and Roll halls of fame. She is the only artist to have had seven consecutive number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, and has won 2 Emmy awards, 6 Grammy awards, and 16 Billboard Music awards.
As an actress, Houston starred in a number of box-office hits including The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, and Sparkle.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody hits theaters on December 21.