‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’: Sony Taps Soap Alums Nafessa Williams and Tamara Tunie for Whitney Houston Biopic

I Wanna Dance with Somebody, Nafessa Williams, Tamara Tunie, One Life to Live, OLTL, As The World Turns, ATWT, Law & Order: SVU,
Nafessa Williams, Tamara Tunie
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Sony and TriStar Pictures are rounding out the cast for their Whitney Houston biopic “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” casting soap alums Nafessa Williams (ex-Deanna Forbes, “One Life to Live”) and Tamara Tunie (ex-Jessica Griffin, “As The World Turns”) as Houston’s best friend Robyn Crawford (Williams) and Houston’s mother Cissy Houston (Tunie), respectively. Williams replaces previously cast Moses Ingram in the role. Clarke Peters will play John Russell Houston, Whitney’s father.

Set for release on December 23, 2022, Deadline reports that the film was penned by Anthony McCarten and will follow the “emotional, energetic journey through Houston’s career and music.” It’s being produced by McCarten’s Muse of Fire Productions, along with Pat Houston on behalf of the Houston Estate, Grammy-winning music producer Clive Davis, Larry Mestel on behalf of Primary Wave Music, Denis O’Sullivan and Jeff Kalligheri for Compelling Pictures, Matt Jackson of Jackson Pictures, and Molly Smith, Trent and Thad Luckinbill (ex-JT Hellstrom, “The Young and the Restless”) for Black Label Media. Primary Wave Music is a partner of the Whitney Houston estate.

Stanley Tucci will play music producer Clive Davis in the film that features Naomi Ackie playing the iconic singer. Kasi Lemmons directs from McCarten’s script.

Houston died tragically in 2012 after she was found irresponsive in her Beverly Hills Hotel bathtub during Grammy Awards weekend. She was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and was the first Black artist to receive three RIAA Diamond Awards for her work.