The biopic of the late, great Aretha Franklin is in full swing and has landed it’s star — Jennifer Hudson. The Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winner will portray the Queen of Soul for an MGM film.
According to Deadline.com, the biopic will be titled “Respect” and directed by Liesl Tommy, the first Black woman to receive a Tony Award nomination for Best Direction of a Play. Tommy said, “The story of Aretha Franklin’s journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova is rife with struggle and triumph, making her life one of the great American stories of all time. As a filmmaker there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman’s fight for self-realization to visual life with the enormous talents of the soulful Jennifer Hudson, Callie Khouri, and our incredible producers.” Khouri is the screenwriter who is most known for writing the iconic “Thelma & Louise.”
Hudson told Deadline.com, “It is an absolute honor to be a part of bringing Ms. Franklin’s story to audiences who adore her around the world. She is one of the most iconic and talented artists of all time and what a dream come true it is to portray her extraordinary life on screen. I could not be more excited to be working alongside Liesl Tommy, a brilliant and thoughtful director, who is no doubt the perfect choice to lead the film.” The 37-year-old was handpicked by Franklin to play her in the biopic.
Aretha Franklin, whose unmatched singing voice helped her create timeless hits like “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” died August 16, 2018 in Detroit. She was 76. Franklin experienced worldwide singing success for the better part of 60 years, releasing dozens of studio albums and becoming the first woman to ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She was known for her awesome four-octave vocal range that lifted her to the top of the charts with “Respect” in 1967 before enjoying a string of other songs landing in the top 10 spanning decades.
Aretha Louise Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis to a father who was a minister and gospel singer and a mother who was also a gospel singer. After moving to Detroit and singing in a church there with her father following her parents’ split, she went on to sign a record contract with Columbia Records in 1960 and release her debut album, “The Great Aretha Franklin,” when she was just 18.
The biopic is certainly big shoes to fill but we know Jennifer Hudson has the chops.