Sony’s newest biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, has found its A&R man. Deadline reports that Stanley Tucci has been cast in the film, following the life and career of Whitney Houston, as Clive Davis, the music producer who was a major figure in Houston’s rise to stardom in the 1980s. Tucci joins Naomi Ackie as Houston herself, in the film directed by Kasi Lemmons and written by Anthony McCarten.
Davis, who began his career as a lawyer before moving into the music business, has earned himself five Grammys over the course of his career, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer in 2000. He served as president of Columbia Records from 1967 to 1973, where he was responsible for signing artists like Janis Joplin, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Aerosmith.
He also founded his own record label in 1974, Arista Records, which released records from Barry Manilow, Air Supply, Carly Simon, Ray Parker, Jr., and Patti Smith, and was the label he signed Houston to at the age of only nineteen, shaping her career and turning her into a mega-star.
Houston would go on to become the most awarded female musician of all time, earning six Grammy Awards, sixteen Billboard Music Awards, twenty-two American Music Awards, and two Emmy Awards, among others. She has sold more than two hundred million records worldwide, including “I Will Always Love You”, her Dolly Parton cover featured in The Bodyguard, which stands as the best-selling physical single by a woman in music history.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody is produced by Pat Houston on behalf of the Houston Estate, alongside Davis himself, Larry Mestel for Primary Wave Music, Denis O’Sullivan and Jeff Kalligheri for Compelling Pictures,Matt Jackson of Jackson Pictures, and Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill, and Thad Luckinbill for Black Label Media. The film is set to be released in theaters on December 23, 2022.