Naomi Ackie has been confirmed to cast as Whitney Houston in the upcoming biopic ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody” after nearly a year of searching.

The actress has previously played the ex-stormtrooper Jannah in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, won a BAFTA Award for her role in the series ‘The End of The F***ing World’ amongst others.

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” will be helmed by director Stella Meghie for Sony Pictures and its TriStar division with Bohemian Rhapsody’s Anthony McCarten writing the script. Houston’s mentor Clive Davis will serve as music producer which in turn means the film will be the first to feature songs sung by Houston.

Meghie in a statement said: “We spent the better part of the last year in an exhaustive search for an actress who could embody Whitney Houston.”

“Naomi Ackie impressed us at every stage of the process. I was moved by her ability to capture the stage presence of a global icon while bringing humanity to her interior life.”

Adding: Davis said Ackie’s “screen test was so powerful, it sent shivers up my 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. Naomi is the real deal and I can’t imagine a better choice for this iconic role.”

The project will be produced by Pat Houston, Houston’s sister-in-law on behalf of the Houston estate, along with Clive Davis.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody is set to release on Thanksgiving weekend 2022.