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Director Kasi Lemmons Talks Whitney Houston Biopic and Her Personal Bond with Singer

Kasi Lemmons
Kasi Lemmons / Getty

*Director Kasi Lemmons is speaking out about her personal relationship with the late Whitney Houston.

Lemmons helms the “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody” biopic that is currently playing in theaters nationwide. She tells EW that she was able to embed her intimate knowledge about the singer into the production.

“I had a personal relationship with [Whitney], because I wrote two scripts for her,” Lemmons tells EW. “So I got to meet her, and I got to see her as the woman who was behind the icon. That moved me tremendously. I met her father at the same time, so I got to know John Houston and that dynamic, and how she was very different than the image, and how he was very protective of the image. I knew all that going into the movie, and I tried to bring all that into the film.”

Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Harriet) directed the Houston biopic from a script written by Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody). The film stars British actress Naomi Ackie as the Whitney and Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown.

READ MORE: Ashton Sanders on Playing Bobby Brown in New Whitney Houston Biopic | EUR Video Exclusive

I Want to Dance With Somebody

Legendary music executive Clive Davis produced the film along with Houston’s sister-in-law Pat Houston.

“From New Jersey choir girl to one of the best-selling and most awarded recording artists of all time, audiences are taken on an inspirational, poignant—and so emotional—journey through Houston’s trailblazing life and career,” over the official synopsis, CNN reports

“Properly telling the honest, ‘no-holds-barred’ story of Whitney Houston is an exceptional responsibility,” Davis told Variety’sStrictly Business“ podcast in 2020. “Kasi Lemmons not only brings a highly-acclaimed, award-winning track record but possesses a clear understanding of Whitney as the matchless icon who triumphed musically while valiantly struggling with addiction.”

Ackie said in an earlier interview that “Preparing to play Whitney Houston has been an incredible experience. I’ve learnt so much more about her and myself than I could have imagined. I’m so excited to get on that film set and honor her legacy! With Kasi on board, I know we can create something truly wonderful.”

Lemmons said her takeaway from the biopic is Houston’s “love for the audience, and needing that love, and the love that she gave the audience.”

“Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody” is now in theaters.

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