British actress Naomi Ackie has been cast in the lead role in the upcoming biopic of the late Whitney Houston, I Wanna Dance with Somebody.

Ackie, who won a BAFTA for her performance in the series The End of the F****** World and was also part of the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker cast, will work with Everything, Everything and Insecure director Stella Meghie on the film. 

News of Ackie's casting was first reported by US entertainment trade website Deadline.

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

Whitney Houston at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles in November 2009

"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."

Houston was found dead in a bathtub in a Beverly Hills hotel in February 2012. Her death was ruled as accidental drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use contributing factors.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody is supported by Houston's estate, meaning the film can use the late singer's hits.

Houston's life was previously chronicled on the big screen in the documentaries Whitney and Whitney: Can I Be Me.

The script for the new film is from Oscar nominee Anthony McCarten (The Two Popes, Darkest Hour, The Theory of Everything).

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