Naomi Ackie interview: British actor reveals how she transformed into Whitney Houston in new film

21 December 2022, 15:05 | Updated: 25 January 2023, 17:51

How Naomi Ackie transformed into Whitney Houston

By Tom Eames

Naomi Ackie has taken on the role of a lifetime in the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic.

The British star - who previously appeared in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Master of None - plays the lead role of legendary singer Whitney Houston in the biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

In an exclusive new interview with Smooth's Angie Greaves, Naomi Ackie reveals just how she perfectly transformed into Whitney for the film.

Angie chats to Naomi about all the ups and downs of Whitney's life and career as seen in the movie, and how she prepared for such a big role.

You can watch the full interview now on Global Player here

Speaking about first playing the late singer, Naomi told Angie: "It was, like, absolute joy and then immediate fear because it's Whitney Houston.

"I had eight months of prep. And, you know, it was like, little by little, every single day, just practising and perfecting. So by the time I was ready to film, actually, those things were in my body. I would find myself, like, FaceTiming my family, and I would be doing Whitney expressions or talking in the same tempo as Whitney, even if I was talking in my own accent.

"And this is the amazing thing about when you absorb that much information about a very specific thing is that the body starts to adjust to it. But it's like my favourite thing about being an actor. You immerse yourself in something for long enough, and it becomes effortless."

On how Whitney helped break down racial barriers in the music industry, Naomi added: "I think the biggest thing that I walked away from in research was that she never let her identity block her from different types of music.

Watch the second trailer for I Wanna Dance With Somebody

"This is somebody who has such a high skill level that she really could sing anything. And so when you have that, why wouldn't you give yourself the option to do anything that you want?

"And that kind of attitude and confidence that she sustained, at least when it came to her singing voice, was so important for me to highlight that actually, there are many areas in her life that she's not sure about, that she's questioning or isn't confident, but she was always confident in her voice."

I Wanna Dance With Somebody follows the life and career of Whitney Houston, and also stars Stanley Tucci as Clive Davis, and Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody is out at UK cinemas on Boxing Day, December 26.