Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody: Naomi Ackie on becoming one of the greatest music stars of all time | Ents & Arts News

On February 7, 1994, Whitney Houston won seven of the eight nominations at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. That night she performed an “impossible medley” of three huge songs: I Loves You, Porgy, and I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, I Have Nothing.

each That alone would challenge even the most seasoned vocalist. whitney houston, generational voices, all at once and made it look effortless. increase. Search it online and be prepared to shed tears even if you don’t consider Houston’s story’s tragic ending.

It’s one of many famous performances British star Naomi Ackie, from Walthamstow, east London, learned to try her hand at in her soon-to-be-rising biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

Houston won seven awards at the 1994 American Music Awards.Photo: AP/Douglas Pizak

Ackie, 30, has appeared in Lady Macbeth, Florence Pugh, and Idris Elba’s directorial debut Yardie, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Netflix’s The End Of The F****** World. Appearing at the 2020 BAFTAs. But at least as a relative newcomer to lead the film, this is a big role to take on.

She was initially afraid to participate. She knew the scrutiny that would inevitably come, but she didn’t need to worry. Feelings coming – She’s clearly done her homework.

“As soon as I got the part, I put the deck away,” she told Sky News. I definitely didn’t want to take the job either, I just wanted to focus on this.It took me about 8 months of research and preparation.I worked with my movement coach and dialect coach. The trick is to practice as much as you have in your body.

Since it’s Houston’s original recording that you hear throughout the film, Ackie had to learn every beat, every breath to become a singer. There are also several scenes featuring performances for which no recording exists. Houston was spotted by music executive Clive Davis as a young woman rehearsing with her mother, Sissy Houston, at a church performing with her at the club. Against these, what you hear is Akki’s striking vocals.

Naomi Ackie as Whitney Houston in
Photo: Sony Pictures

For other performances of many hits such as Greatest Love of All, Saving All My Love, How Will I Know, I Wanna Dance with Somebody, I Will Always Love You, So Emotional, One Moment In Time, Ackie I still had to train. Even though she wasn’t voice recorded, she sings in her voice and as Houston as it plays on set.

Ackie says studying Houston and perfecting her mannerisms was an emotional experience.

“Oh my god, there were many times when I actually started crying watching a live performance,” she says. There was a moment of real appreciation once I started to understand why she was speaking.I gained more and more respect…as it continued.”

“I think I heard the best voice of her generation.”

In 1983, shortly after signing with Arista Records, Whitney Houston was photographed with music producer Clive Davis. Photo: A.P.
The real Houston shot with music producer Clive Davis in 1983, shortly after signing with Arista Records. Photo: A.P.

‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ follows Houston’s journey from being a nippy-smiling tomboy singing in New Jersey churches to becoming one of the biggest stars in the world. I’m here. Information about the life of a star.

Stanley Tucci, who plays a well-known music executive, told him about his first impressions of Houston. , “I think I heard the best voice of her generation”.And he was right.The way he talks about her is still talking about her [is] With awe and respect and admiration and of course sadness, because it is the tragic end not only of this incredible life, but of an incredible person.”

Music industry executives are often seen as ruthless, but I Wanna Dance With Somebody presents Davis as almost a father figure to young Houston.

“[He] Really nurtured her, cared for her, tried to keep her distance [from her private life] As much as we can,” says Tucci. And I think we have a wonderful relationship. He’s a very interesting man, Clive Davis… the fact that he cared so much about his artists and yet had this amazing business acumen.

Working with Houston Family

Naomi Ackie as Whitney Houston in
Photo: Sony Pictures

The film covers Houston’s romance with friend-turned-assistant Robin Crawford and how she keeps that aspect of her sexuality private, as well as her tumultuous marriage to fellow singer Bobby Brown. Also, when she was found in the bath of Suite 434 of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles in 2012, prior to a pre-Grammys party hosted by Davis, which she was due to attend, she had a drug addiction that led to her death. I am drawing. .

As well as Davis, the producers worked with Whitney’s brother and sister-in-law Gary and Pat Houston (who was also his former manager) and recognized the importance of showing different sides of the star’s life. .

“It was very intimate. I think that’s the language,” Ackie says of the conversation with the family. “I suddenly realized that I wasn’t just playing the role of Whitney, I was living in a dynamic with real people and I could be mimicking some of that with Whitney.

“Very helpful. Also really touched by your generosity in holding space for me while I was trying to share and find space. Pat Houston, Gary Houston, Clive Davis, all of these people have been so kind, they want to celebrate Whitney in the end, so they’re very attentive and complicated with the details they told me. is what this film is trying to achieve.

“Some important things should remain a mystery.”

Stanley Tucci, left, Naomi Ackie and Clive Davis at the world premiere of Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody in New York City, December 2022. Photo: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Tucci (left), Ackie and Davis at the film’s world premiere in New York. Photo: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

The film “shows a lot, but obviously not all,” says Tucci. “And it’s not always easy to see…”

“But it balances out,” Akki interjects. “As you know, there is no good without bad, and no bad without good.”

Good ones included Houston’s Stars and Stripes performance at the 1991 Super Bowl and her biggest hit, I Will Always Love You, at a show held in South Africa in 1994 to honor Nelson Mandela. will be With videos like I Wanna Dance With Somebody and It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay, and the famous chair scene, or otherwise in the dark with a light hitting her face, The Bodyguard has a lot to offer. Related.

Houston’s incredible success — the singer breaking Beatles records (seven consecutive number one hits) and becoming the most awarded female artist of all time — ultimately led to her demise. reminds me of the devil

We all know how it ends, but the film deals with Houston’s death in a sensitive and particularly poignant way.

“Honestly, if it had been done otherwise, I’m not sure I would have been on board,” Ackie says. But really, I think there are a few things that are important to keep a mystery, really focusing on what we want to focus on, which is Whitney’s greatness as a human being. was important..”

Whitney Houston’s ‘I want to dance with someone’ hits theaters on Boxing Day

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