Jennifer Hudson’s latest role has her embodying another iconic powerhouse singer, one that demanded we give her the respect she deserved: Aretha Franklin. Hudson is playing the Queen of Soul in a new biopic aptly titled Respect and MGM has finally released its first full trailer for the film.
The biographical film has been years in the making, with Franklin being heavily involved in its development up until her death in August 2018. In fact, she handpicked Hudson to play herself, an honor we imagine the American Idol winner would find impossible to turn down (not that she ever wanted to, we’re sure). It follows her life from the early days of her singing in church up through the ‘60s and ‘70s when she became the music icon we know and love.
The superstar cast also includes Forest Whitaker as Aretha’s father C.L. Franklin, Audra McDonald as her mother Barbara, Marlon Wayans as her first husband Ted White and Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington (a jazz singer often cited as the most popular black female recording artist of the ‘50s and a big influence on Aretha Franklin), just to name a few.
Interestingly, Respect isn’t the only Aretha Franklin biography scheduled to premiere in 2020. National Geographic has also been working on an anthology series about the life of the musical icon titled Genius: Aretha and starring Cynthia Erivo. It was originally supposed to come out on Memorial Day, but was postponed due to Covid-19. The new release date has yet to be announced.
Although Hudson and MGM’s Franklin-focused film won’t be hitting theaters until December 2020 (global pandemic permitting), we’re already counting down the days until we can see her take on the challenge of portraying such a superstar performer.