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Canadian filmmaker Stella Meghie to direct Whitney Houston biopic

Canadian filmmaker Stella Meghie poses for a photograph for her new film "The Photograph" in Toronto on Friday, February 7, 2020. Meghie is set to direct a highly anticipated biopic on the late singing legend Whitney Houston. The Oshawa, Ont.-raised writer-director posted the news about "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" on her official social media accounts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — Canadian filmmaker Stella Meghie is set to direct a highly-anticipated biopic on the late singing legend Whitney Houston.

The Oshawa, Ont.-raised writer-director posted the news about “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” on her official social media accounts.

She linked to various news articles about her signing on to the film and noted the release date is set for Thanksgiving 2022.

Houston’s Facebook account says Sony’s TriStar Pictures division won an auction for the rights to the feature.

It also says four-time Oscar-nominated writer-producer Anthony McCarten is penning the script, with record producer Clive Davis and Houston’s estate onboard.

McCarten’s previous projects include “Bohemian Rhapsody,” about British rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury.

Reports about “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” have been swirling for a few months.

There’s no word on who will play the performer, who died in 2012 and sold over 200 million records during her acclaimed career, with hits including “I Will Always Love You” and “How Will I Know.”

The Toronto-born Meghie’s previous films include “Jean of the Joneses,” “Everything, Everything,” “The Weekend” and “The Photograph,” which came out in February.

Last month she was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which puts on the Oscars.

She had a previous career in fashion public relations.

Meghie wrote, directed and co-executive produced “The Photograph,” a romantic drama starring Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield.

In an interview for the film’s release, Meghie told The Canadian Press there’s a dearth of Black love stories like “The Photograph” getting big-screen releases by Hollywood studios, and she hoped her film would spur more like it.

“I love these movies, I want to see more,” said Meghie, who now lives in Los Angeles.

“It’s important that it does well, so that it can send a message to the industry that these movies are wanted and will do well and speak for an audience.”

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Aug. 5, 2020.

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press