“I sing to the realists; people who accept it like it is.”
Metro Goldwyn Mayer has let shine the first footage of Jennifer Hudson as the iconic songstress Aretha Franklin for the studio’s upcoming biopic: RESPECT. I hope you’re prepared for some shivers to run down your spine, because even though the above video only features a few notes from Hudson’s powerful chords, Franklin’s energy and spirit is felt throughout for a tease that will assuredly gain your respect.
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.
Academy-Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson stars as the indomitable Aretha Franklin in the film directed by Tony-nominee Liesl Tommy. Joining Hudson to help round out the cast are Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy-winner Forest Whitaker; Marlon Wayans; Tony, Grammy and Emmy-winner Audra McDonald; Multiple Grammy winning, and Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominee Mary J. Blige; Marc Maron; Emmy-nominee Tituss Burgess; Tony-nominee Saycon Sengbloh; Tony-nominee Hailey Kilgore, Tate Donovan, and Skye Dakota Turner.
In the past, Liesl has directed episodes of hit television series the likes of QUEEN SUGAR, JESSICA JONES, and THE WALKING DEAD. For RESPECT, she’ll shoot from a script written by Emmy-nominee Tracey Scott Wilson (THE AMERICANS, FOSSE / VERDON), which tells of the rise of Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church choir to her international superstardom.
Back in October, while speaking about what an honor it is to be helming the first authorized feature film based on Franklin’s life, Tommy said:
“I am thrilled with the incredibly talented cast we have assembled for our film, and I’m so proud that Ms. Franklin entrusted us to tell her story and to share it with the world. As a storyteller, hers is the kind of story we all dream of telling. Her music has inspired me since I was a little girl, and the milestones of her life and career have shown us all how to strive and thrive. To have this powerhouse group of actors – and the phenomenal talent of Jennifer Hudson in this iconic role – means we have the chance of making this film as transcendent as her glorious life and legacy.”
Producing RESPECT are Scott Berstein (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON) and multiple Grammy nominated producer Harvey Mason Jr. (DREAMGIRLS), who previously has produced music for both Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Hudson.
As part of a joint statement, both Berstein and Mason Jr. expressed their excitement for participating in the making of the upcoming biopic:
“We were given the rare privilege to work with Ms. Franklin directly to curate the stories she most wanted to share and the moments in her life that made her who she was. Over the years, she imparted to us how important it was to her that we share her story on the big screen and how important it was to have Jennifer in this role. To have that kind of deeply personal trust and insight from Ms. Franklin was nothing short of amazing for everyone involved.”
In addition to releasing the first footage for RESPECT, MGM also unveiled a teaser poster for the upcoming film, which you can check out for yourself below. Meanwhile, RESPECT will open in theaters on October 9, 2020.