Naomi Ackie Shares One Concern About Playing Whitney Houston She Had To Overcome

Since the behemoth success of 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody, there’s been an uptick in movies about musicians such as Elton John’s Rocketman, Aretha Franklin’s Respect and Elvis Presley’s Elvis. This Christmas the trend continues with the biopic about the iconic Black musician, Whitney Houston, who stunned the world with her incredible vocals and a ton of massive hits. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker actor Naomi Ackie took on the role, and while speaking to CinemaBlend shared one thing about playing the singer that she found particularly challenging. 

Ackie portrays Whitney Houston across her thirty-year career in I Wanna Dance With Somebody. When I asked if she got to film in order in any way, she said they didn’t along with these words: 

I think I naively remember asking the producers, ‘Can we at least just attempt please [to shoot in order]?’ you know, because I was very concerned about playing Whitney at different ages, which obviously happened because there's just some things you can't control and it's really just the way it works. So yeah, some days I was playing like 22 and then 42 in the same day, and it got quite confusing sometimes.

Across two and a half hours of the 2022 movie release, Naomi Ackie portrays the late Whitney Houston, who was signed to work with record producer Clive Davis, played by The Hunger Games’ Stanley Tucci, at the age of 19 and quickly found fame with hits like “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” During our interview, Ackie shared what helped her get into character the most on set: 

The fake teeth for one [helped to get in character], because, you know, I got my gap here. So that was something that we needed to figure out. But, also it was, for me, it was the wigs really. And not just because it was indicative of Whitney in certain parts of her life, but it also helped me at least body-wise and fashion-wise where we are in time. Because hairstyle changed a lot from the late seventies to the early 00s. So, you know, it helped me kind of plot out where we were too. And so, once I had the wig and the teeth on and in, that was my switch.

Oscar-winner Rami Malek also famously said that his fake teeth for Freddie Mercury helped him channel the Queen frontman for Bohemian Rhapsody. Ackie had a similar experience with her own fake teeth for Whitney Houston, along with really marking time as the singer with various wigs. The actress recreates numerous iconic moments in the career of “The Voice,” including one of Whitney Houston’s movies, The Bodyguard, her singing at the Super Bowl as well as numerous music videos and live performances. 

Check out the trailer for Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody here on CinemaBlend ahead of the new music biopic hitting theaters on Friday, December 23. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.