Kasi Lemmons, the director of the Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet,” has come aboard as the director on the Whitney Houston biopic “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” an individual with knowledge told TheWrap.
Lemmons replaces “The Photograph” director Stella Meghie on the project, who sources say exited the film over creative differences.
Naomi Ackie is set to star as the famed singer Whitney Houston in the film, which is being made with the support of Houston’s estate and will include a look at her full life and career as well as a journey through her music. Anthony McCarten of “Bohemian Rhapsody” wrote the screenplay.
Alongside McCarten’s Muse of Fire Productions, the film is being produced by Pat Houston (“Whitney”) on behalf of the Houston Estate, Grammy-winning music producer Clive Davis, Larry Mestel on behalf of Primary Wave Music and Denis O’Sullivan (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Jeff Kalligheri (“Submergence:), who are also financing via Compelling Pictures.
Sony’s TriStar Pictures is handling distribution on “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and has set the film for a Thanksgiving 2022 release date.
Kasi Lemmons’ previous feature film was 2019’s “Harriet,” which starred Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman and earned the actress an Oscar nomination for her performance. Her debut “Eve’s Bayou” was recently selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. She’s currently at work on her next feature “The Shadow King” based on a novel by Maaza Mengiste, as well as “Ring Shout,” a series based on the novel by P. Djéli Clark for Skydance TV.
Lemmons is represented by The Gersh Agency and Nina Shaw at Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano.
Deadline first reported the news.