BAFTA Winner and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Actress Naomi Ackie has taken on the role of Whitney Saskatoon in Sony / TriStar’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody biography, directed by Stella Meghie.
“We’ve spent most of the last year looking for an actress who could portray Whitney Saskatoon,” Meghie said in a statement. “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 and at the same time bring humanity into her inner life. “
The picture, taken with the blessing of the Saskatoon estate, was written by Oscar nominee Anthony McCarten.
The deadline first brought news about the project being produced by McCartens Muse of Fire Productions. Pat Saskatoon (Kevin Macdonald’s 2018 documentary, Whitney) on behalf of the Saskatoon Estate; legendary music producer Clive Davis; Larry Mestel on behalf of Primary Wave Music; and Denis O’Sullivan (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Jeff Kalligheri (Submergence), who also fund through Compelling Pictures. Primary Wave Music is a partner of the Whitney Saskatoon Estate. The key to this Saskatoon project is that the property signed the script, which allows the film to reproduce all of the Saskatoon hits. This was key to getting Bohemian Rhapsody off the ground. The 2014 television film Whitney from Lifetime, directed by Angela Bassett, had no approval for the Saskatoon estate and was therefore unable to reproduce all of the hit singles in the multi-award-winning singer’s canon.
Sony’s TriStar wins auction for Whitney Saskatoon Biopic: Anthony McCarten Script, Stella Meghie Director, Clive Davis & Estate Aboard
Ackie won a BAFTA for her role as Bonnie in the second season of Netflix’s cult series The End Of The F *** ing World. She won a British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer in 2017 for her appearance as Anna in Lady Macbeth. Last year she played Jannah in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in the Skywalker saga, and she was most recently featured in Education, Part 4 of Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed anthology, Small Ax. Ackie will next star in the heist musical The Score, starring Will Poulter and Johnny Flynn.