Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson channels Aretha Franklin in the new trailer for the music-driven biopic, Respect. Sadly, the Queen of Soul passed away in 2018 however years before she died Aretha Franklin spoke with Hudson and requested she play her in a film.
“We met in New York, and one of the first things she said to me was ‘You’re gonna win another Oscar for playing me, right?’ Imagine Aretha Franklin looking you in the face and saying that,” said Hudson in an interview with EW in late 2020. Hudson, who was hot off her Dreamgirls performance when they met, promised Franklin she would try. It took more than a dozen years but, finally, Franklin’s request came to fruition with Respect.
Joining Hudson are Forest Whitaker as C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, and Audra McDonald as Barbara Franklin. Marc Maron plays Jerry Wexler, Tituss Burgess is Reverend Dr. James Cleveland, Kimberly Scott is Mama Franklin, Saycon Sengbloh plays Erma Franklin, and Hailey Kilgore is Carolyn Franklin. The cast also includes Heather Headley as Clara Ward, Skye Dakota Turner as Young Aretha Franklin, Tate Donovan as John Hammond, and Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington.
Liesl Tommy, the first Black woman to earn a Best Direction of a Play Tony Award nomination, directs from a screenplay by Tracey Scott Wilson (story by Wilson and Callie Khouri). Harvey Mason Jr., Scott Bernstein, Jonathan Glickman, and Stacey Sher produced, with Jennifer Hudson, Liesl Tommy, Sue Baden-Powell, Aaron L. Gilbert, and Jason Cloth executive producing.
MGM is planning an August 13, 2021 release
“Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, Respect is the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice.”