I Wanna Dance with Somebody: The Official Whitney Houston Film Companion

Weldon Owen International. Dec. 2022. 176p. ISBN 9781681889191. $40. FILM
This story behind the upcoming film about the life of one of the most iconic singers of all time is a celebration of moviemaking and of Whitney Houston herself. It’s a glossy photograph-filled yearbook of the herculean efforts of cast and crew to remain true to Houston. The film was the brainchild of Houston’s mentor Clive Davis and Oscar-winning writer and producer Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody), with Houston’s sister-in-law Pat Houston overseeing every detail, ensuring the film is a positive tribute. The book details much of the process of casting—Davis handpicked Stanley Tucci to play him—and the efforts of the cast to not impersonate their characters but to bring their own personalities into their portrayals. Interviews with the hair, makeup, and costume designers reveal the lengths they went to bridge the gap between performers and subjects. For example, they found vintage pieces that reflect the time but also flatter the actors themselves. Behind-the-scenes secrets include the mixing of Naomi Ackie’s voice with Houston’s, and the filming of the iconic Super Bowl scene, digitally altering the crowd.
VERDICT An interesting take on the art of filmmaking and a touching tribute to Houston and her lifelong search for home.
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