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Moonlight star, Ashton Sanders will take on the role of Bobby Brown in the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Complex reported.

The 25-year-old star has previously lent his acting talents to films such as Straight Outta Compton, The Equalizer 3 and more recently Hulu’s series Wu-Tang: An American Saga where he plays the role of RZA, also known as Bobby Digital. The show is currently in its second season.

MADAMENOIRE previously reported that Whitney’s sister-in-law, Pat Houston and legendary record exec Clive Davis would be helping to produce the forthcoming project alongside Fire Productions, Black Label Media and music publishing company Primary Wave among others. Kasi Lemmons will direct the biopic that is adapted from a screenplay written by Anthony McCarten, Deadline notes.


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In 2020, Star Wars actress Naomi Ackie was confirmed to play the role of Whitney Houston. Clive Davis previously spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about how the actress’s screen test “sent shivers” up his spine.

“Although Whitney’s incomparable vocals are used for all the songs, Naomi’s extraordinary acting range enables her to masterfully capture Whitney’s unique charm, star power and, of course, her personal struggles,” he shared. “Naomi is the real deal and I can’t imagine a better choice for this iconic role.”

Pat Houston echoed a similar sentiment, adding:

“All Whitney fans have an appetite for perfection when it comes to Whitney and her legacy. To transform someone into a matchless icon is virtually impossible. But with careful consideration, Naomi Ackie was selected based on her quality performances and her deep commitment to emerging into the woman that we all loved. We look forward to taking this journey with her.”

The movie is slated for release next year on Dec. 23.

In other Whitney Houston-related news, the singer’s iconic 1992 blockbuster hit The Bodyguard is getting a Hollywood remake.  Tony-nominated playwright, Matthew López will work alongside Warner Bros. to reimagine the romantic drama, however, some fans of the star were angry about the news, citing that Hollywood was “running out of ideas” and that the industry should leave the popular film as is.

What do you think? Are Ashton Sanders and Naomi Ackie a good fit for the Whitney biopic?

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