EXCLUSIVE: Nafessa Williams has been cast as Robyn Crawford in the biopic I want to dance with someone the next feature film about the late musical icon, Whitney Houston. Williams replaces Moses Ingram who recently stepped down from the role. Clarke Peters and Tamara Tunie, who are John and Cissy Houston, also join the cast. Naomi Ackie will play Whitney Houston in the musical biopic directed by Kasi Lemmons.
The screenplay will be written by Anthony McCarten and will take audiences on an emotional and energetic journey through Houston’s career and music. Crawford was Houston’s longtime assistant who would later become Houston’s creative director while remaining one of his closest friends.
Along with McCarten’s Muse of Fire Productions, the film is produced by Pat Houston on behalf of Houston Estate, Grammy Award-winning music producer Clive Davis, Larry Mestel on behalf of Primary Wave Music, Denis O’Sullivan and Jeff Kalligheri for Compelling Pictures, Matt Jackson of Jackson Pictures, and Molly Smith, Trent and Thad Luckinbill for Black Label Media. Primary Wave Music is a partner of the Whitney Houston Estate.
Sony and TriStar Pictures will release the film in theaters on December 23, 2022.
Houston is the most awarded female musical artist of all time and one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, selling over 200 million records worldwide. Houston has won six Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, and two Emmy Awards, among others. Houston made her acting debut with the romantic thriller The bodyguard, where she recorded six songs for the film’s soundtrack, including “I Will Always Love You”. The song won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and became the best-selling physical single by a woman in music history. The soundtrack album won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and remains the best-selling soundtrack album in history. In 2020, Whitney was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and became the first black artist to receive 3 RIAA Diamond Awards.
Williams was recently seen in Deon Taylor’s feature film Black & Blue alongside Naomie Harris, Frank Grillo and Tyrese Gibson for Screen Gems. Last year she wrapped up the fourth and final season Black Lightning. His other credits include the feature film Burning sands, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, the CBS series Code Black and Showtime’s Twin peaks. Then she will be seen in Lee Daniels’ FX The ghost who sat at the door.
Best known for his role as Detective Lester Freamon in Thread, Peters recently starred in the critically acclaimed Netflix movie Spike Lee, Da 5 bloods was also seen in the HBO & BBC One series, Its dark materials. Peters will soon be seen featured in AMC La Fortuna, opposite Stanley Tucci and Showtime’s The man who fell to earth opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomie Harris. It can currently be seen in The foundation for Apple + and in the Netflix series, The Irregulars.
Tunie will then be seen in A newspaper for Jordan with Michael B. Jordan and directed by Denzel Washington. His other credits include the AMC series Dietland, BBC / Netflix political drama Rising black earth, Apple tv See, and the November release of Netflix’s live-action series Cowboy Bebop. She has also starred in the top rated Wolf Films / Universal Media Studio series Law & Order: Special Victims Assistance Unit.
Williams is replaced by ICM and Link Entertainment. Peters is replaced by Vanguard Management Group and Conway van Gelder Grant. Tunie is replaced by Alta Global Media and Paradigm Talent Agency.