The Whitney Houston estate has given the green light to a Whitney Houston biopic, tentatively titled I Wanna Dance With Somebody. In a statement, producers describe the film as “a joyous, emotional and heart-breaking celebration of the life and music of the greatest female R&B pop vocalist of all time, tracking her journey from obscurity to musical superstardom.” Sounds a little by the book, but okay, we’re listening. The Photograph director Stella Meghie is in talks to direct. Cool choice; now we’re talking. Gee, this project is shaping up to be pretty good — wait, what’s this? The announcement also states that screenwriter and producer Anthony McCarten “after earning the support of the Houston family, financed a life-rights option and is writing the screenplay on spec.” McCarten previously wrote The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour, and … Bohemian Rhapsody. In a statement, McCarten said, “We are incredibly lucky to have the support and input of many of the key people who knew Whitney the best and who were there at the time, in the making of this film. I am working closely with all of them, to authentically tell the extraordinary story of a peerless talent, taken from us too soon.”
The aforementioned biopics written by McCarten all led to Oscars for their stars, although Bohemian Rhapsody received some critical backlash, particularly in the LGBTQ community, being called homophobic for its vilifying treatment of Freddie Mercury’s sexuality. This is notable for any fans invested in how sensitively this film will address Whitney Houston’s own censored queer relationships, or if it will at all. Houston’s sister-in-law Pat Houston spoke on behalf of the estate, saying: “Whitney’s legacy deserves only the best that can be given. I stand with the hearts of these partners being the chosen ones to produce a film that’s uplifting and inspiring to all that loved her.” And as proved before in films like The Bodyguard and The Prince of Egypt, the power of a good Whitney Houston soundtrack can carry a movie a long way.
If the prospect of I Wanna Dance with Somebody starring Rami Malek lip-syncing in a wig doesn’t appeal to you (okay, a star has not been announced yet, but hey, who knows?) there are plenty of other Whitney Houston projects in development She’s going on a hologram tour, which considering the coronavirus may be the only types of tours there are in the future, anyway. Her posthumous induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is scheduled for November. And the documentary Whitney is available to stream on Hulu. Speaking of Whitney projects streaming on Hulu, this is also your daily reminder to watch Waiting to Exhale. The new biopic is being “independently financed and is not currently set at a studio.” Again, not that anything is, nowadays.