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For “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” executive producer Clive Davis, it was paramount to get Whitney Houston’s story right.

The iconic record producer — who has lived long enough to discover Houston in a Newark club, produce the most awarded female singer of all time and oversee Houston’s biopic a decade after her tragic death — wanted to showcase Houston as an artist, first and foremost.

“The two attempts at biography that were previously done — there was a TV broadcast and there was a documentary — never touched the surface of who Whitney was,” Davis told Variety at the film’s premiere on Tuesday in New York City. “The documentary didn’t even include any music. I was shocked.”

Directed by Kasi Lemmons, written by Academy Award nominee Anthony McCarten and starring Naomi Ackie, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” has a clear mission of authenticity.

“For me, it was important for the film to answer all questions honestly, authentically, about who Whitney was,” said Davis, who is portrayed by Stanley Tucci in the film“Whether it was her sexuality, whether it was her addiction, whether it was how she and I worked together to find, arrange and produce the songs. We wanted to get it right. We wanted to get the music right, above all.”

As with all films of this genre, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is defined by the things it leaves out or shoves under the rug. Usually, a biopic’s flagrant omission of key, inconvenient facts is low-hanging fruit for outrage. But, in Houston’s case, it’s somehow a relief. As the movie trudges its linear path through Houston’s life and career — song after song — director Lemmons’ hand closes frame around Houston’s most vulnerable moments.

For the film’s star, portraying Houston — “It was like looking up at a mountain and knowing I have to get to the other side,” Ackie told Variety — was an exercise in selective vision, too.

“We treat female pop singers in a crazy way,” Ackie said. “In filmmaking, we can be activists and, at the same time, we can be voyeurists. That’s a conversation I want to have.”

It’s never clear, as Ackie described, whether biopics of this sort are additive to the memories of our most cherished artists, and taking an active role in that conversation is important.  

“With films like this, what do we actually affect?” she asked. “There was a real urge for us to explore the darkness, but mostly to celebrate her light and tenacity. As a result, I think that the conversations had afterwards are important: What does a film like this trigger in people? What does it inspire in those who were a part of her life and music? I want films like these to be an active pursuit, an active experience.”

Represented on Tuesday by her sister-in-law and longtime intermediary Pat Houston, the artist’s estate gave its blessing. 

“When Clive came to me, talked about the project and what he wanted to do, it was a no-brainer,” Houston said“I’d never do anything that she wouldn’t want to do. He is the reason that I chose to do this, because I know how she felt about him, and everyone knows how he feels about her.”

She added, “Clive’s a tough cookie, but we dove into this. It was a challenge. Maybe some things we didn’t get right. Most things we did. When it’s all said and done, at the end of the credits, when fans hear ‘Don’t Cry for Me,’ I hope that gives them closure. It’s a beautiful song, and hearing Whitney sing it takes me home.”