Whitney Houston Biopic Casts ‘Wu-Tang: An American Saga’ Star Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown

The Whitney Houston biopic forges ahead. Nearly 10 years after the singer’s death, her name is ringing bells with two major projects connected to her name. The Bodyguard reboot is in the works, and it’s a film that launched her acting career. However, it’s her upcoming biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, that keeps popping up in the news. And the movie has landed its Bobby Brown.

Ashton Sanders attends the photo call for ‘The Equalizer 2’
Ashton Sanders | Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty Images

Ashton Sanders cast in ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’

Fans have already seen Woody McClain portray Bobby Brown on screen, but now it’s Ashton Sanders’ turn. According to Deadline, Sanders has been cast to star opposite Naomie Ackie in the biopic. Ackie signed on to play Whitney Houston in 2020.

Sanders currently stars in Wu-Tang: An American Saga as RZA, and previously made his mark in Moonlight, Native Son, and All Day and a Night. He also joins Queen’s Gambit actor Moses Ingram who will play Robyn Crawford, Houston’s friend and former assistant. Sanders has not issued a statement about the role.

Kasi Lemmons recently took over as director for I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which is an authorized biopic of the late singer’s life. Music mogul Clive Davis and Houston’s estate are producing the movie.

When does the Whitney Houston biopic come out?

Sony recently announced the release date for the film after initially planning for a Thanksgiving 2022 premiere. Fans can line up for the movie on Dec. 23, 2022. The story will chronicle Houston’s early life, family, career, and final days and feature her original recordings. Per Davis, honoring the superstar’s voice is paramount, so Ackie will be doing some lip-syncing.

During an interview with Variety in August 2020, Davis explained his dedication. “I have a mission here,” he said. “I have a mission to make sure that for all time that the full picture of Whitney Houston is captured in a no-holds-barred film that is musically rich and shows her genius and more of her character than we have seen to date.”

Production for I Wanna Dance With Somebody began in August 2021 in the Boston area and is set to run into November. Brown and his former group New Edition are originally from the city, so the film will probably explore part of his musical journey along with Houston’s.

Sanders has his own production company

At just 25, Sanders launched his own production outfit with plans to tackle more projects. He spoke with Culture magazine back in April 2021 and shared that he has something on the burner with Tom Hardy. Though he didn’t mention the Bobby Brown role, he declared he was ready for anything.

“I’m currently filming season two of Wu-Tang: An American Saga for Hulu. My production company just secured the rights to Peter Nelson’s non-fiction novel, A More Unbending Battle: The Harlem Hellfighter’s Struggle for Freedom in WWI and Equality at Home so I’ll be producing that for the big screen,” he said. “I’m also attached to The Things They Carried with Tom Hardy, directed by Rupert Sanders. Beyond that, I am not afraid take on any role—bring it on.”

Fans can see Sanders in action as RZA on Hulu in season 2 of Wu-Tang: An American Saga.

RELATED: Bobby Brown Reveals What He Would Say to Whitney Houston if She Was Still Alive