The “Queen of Soul” penned her memoir, “Aretha: From the Roots,” along with famed celeb biographer David Ritz back in 1999, and the upcoming biopic, which is based upon the book, has many wondering who would play her.
The book describes Franklin’s childhood upbringing in Detroit, where she was raised by her minister father and had four siblings. While two teen pregnancies, snippets of some legendary troubles with men, and her eventual rise to superstardom are mentioned, because Franklin decided to withhold juicy details, the book ends up being a pretty flat read.
Still, the film project continues to create quite a buzz. Franklin is reportedly scheduled to meet with the director, whose name has not been revealed, and financial backers of the film, which will bear the autobiography’s title. The 69-year-old, who only recently announced her engagement to long-time companion William Wilkerson, made it very clear last year that she wanted Halle Berry to play her.
While Berry reportedly declined the role because she lacked a singing voice, there was speculation that Franklin did not take Berry’s refusal too lightly. According to reports, though, all bets have not been removed from the table and Berry might still be a consideration for the lead role.
A perfect actress to play Franklin, though, is the multitalented Jennifer Hudson: The women both grew up in Detroit, Hudson can belt out a song, and both Hudson and Franklin have experienced family tragedies. In 2008, Hudson’s mom, nephew, and brother were brutally murdered. Franklin’s brother was shot during a home invasion in 1979, and he spent five years in a coma before passing away.
Other actors Franklin would like to star in the film are Nia Long as her older sister Erma Franklin, Kerry Washington as her younger sister Carolyn Franklin, and Blair Underwood as Franklin’s older brother Cecil. Franklin would also like Terrence Howard as Smokey Robinson and Denzel Washington as her father, Rev. Cecil Franklin.
Franklin’s publicist told the Daily News that nothing has been etched in stone and none of the actors have actually been contacted.