Why Keke Palmer Wants to Portray Whitney Houston in a Movie

In an exclusive interview with E! News, Keke Palmer discussed music icon Whitney Houston and announced a search for the first taco-themed song through her partnership with McCormick.

By Corinne Heller, Alex Ross Aug 17, 2022 9:04 PMTags

There's a greatest role of all that Keke Palmer would not say "nope" to.

When asked by E! News which real person she would want to play in a film, the actress immediately said, "Whitney Houston." 

Palmer, who is also a singer, had last week expressed her desire to play the late pop queen onscreen in response to a viral tweet containing a video compilation of the Bodyguard star showcasing her sense of humor, with the caption, "Keke Palmer and Whitney Houston act exactly the same." Palmer, who has performed the singer's songs in Instagram videos, wrote, "Let's get the movie made y'all. I'm ready to ACK, we abt to weep in the theaters."

"I think that with Whitney's story, a lot of times people exploit just the more sensational aspects in terms of her relationship with Bobby or the conversations around drug use," Palmer exclusive told E! News Aug. 17. "I think there's so much to Whitney that has not been explored in terms of just her family and her relation to the kind of music she did and how that was accepted culturally."

Whitney Houston's Highs & Lows

Palmer, recently seen in Jordan Peele's comedy-horror film Nope, continued, "There's just so many other nuanced aspects of who Whitney Houston is and the barriers that she broke, that I think have not been as explored. When I think about her story, I just would want to show her truly as the sweetheart that she was and everything that she did that changed culture forever."

British star Naomi Ackie is already playing the iconic late pop star in the biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody, set for release this December. Ashton Sanders is playing the singer's ex-husband Bobby Brown.

Houston, a six-time Grammy winner and one of the most celebrated singers of all time, battled substance addiction for years before she was found dead at age 48 in 2012 in a Beverly Hills hotel room bathtub. The cause of the Bodyguard star's death was ruled as accidental drowning, spurred by cocaine use and a heart condition.

Getty Imagees / WireImage

Palmer has showcased her ability to sing Houston songs several times. in 2015, the star posted an Instagram video of herself singing the later singer's hit 1985 cover of "Greatest Love of All." In 2017, Palmer also shared a clip of herself singing the star's cover of "I Will Always Love You" from the iconic soundtrack to the 1992 film The Bodyguard, her breakthrough acting role. The following year, Palmer performed Whitney's song "I Have Nothing" and the pop star's cover of "I'm Every Woman" from the same album.

Lauren Phillips

Like Houston, Palmer has also balanced a professional acting and music career. She released her debut album, So Uncool, in 2007 and has since dropped another album, three mixtapes, four EPs, and almost two dozen singles, including "Bottoms Up 2.0," which was re-released earlier this year.

"I'm just gonna step into my big bossness and just like, let that live," the star said about her music evolution. "I think that's been the big journey for me, and so a lot of my music is representative of me not being afraid of that."

Palmer is currently involved in another musical endeavor—she has partnered with McCormick to announce the America's Got Tacos song contest, which calls on taco lovers to create an original jingle for a chance to win $50,000.

"I'm looking for something that's unique and original," the actress told E! News. "You know, just like, a fun vibe. I'm looking for somebody that's just bringing something original to the table and having fun. I think that's the main thing is that we want people to have fun while doing this."

For more info on the initiative, go to McCormick.com/AmericasGotTacos

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