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Jennifer Hudson Will Get Some “Respect” in Her Next Role

Aretha Franklin hand picked the Oscar-winning actress for her upcoming biopic.
Jennifer Hudson
By  · Published on January 29th, 2018

Aretha Franklin hand picked the Oscar-winning actress for her upcoming biopic.

At Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy party this past weekend, the legendary record producer dropped the news that Jennifer Hudson will be portraying Aretha Franklin in a biopic. According to Deadline, Davis, who has had a working relationship with both women, made the announcement after introducing Hudson to sing a few Franklin covers, including “Rock Steady” and “Think.”

Franklin, also known as the Queen of Soul, began her career singing gospel tunes and soon after was releasing hits now considered to be her signature songs, such as “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” and a cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect,” the latter of which is regarded as a feminist and civil rights movement anthem. In 1998, she released her memoir on which the film will be based, “Aretha: From These Roots.”

The film has been acquired by MGM, with Straight Outta Compton producer Scott Bernstein attached to produce. Also attached to the project is music producer Harvey Mason Jr., who worked on the music for Dreamgirls, the film for which Hudson, in her feature acting debut, won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2007.

Since her Oscar win, Hudson has released a number of albums and starred in a steady stream of films, including Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq and the animated musical Sing. But she hasn’t gotten the type of starring role in a major film that one would expect an Academy Award winner to be offered. Her performance in Dreamgirls is absolutely stunning, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that should have been given more opportunities to shine again.

Hudson’s work fortunately grabbed the attention of Franklin, though. In a 2016 interview with People, the singer stated that she had given just one actress approval to portray her, but she didn’t reveal who the actress was. We now know she was referring to Hudson, as Clive Davis also announced that she had hand picked the Dreamgirls breakout.

Anna Swanson is a Senior Contributor who hails from Toronto. She can usually be found at the nearest rep screening of a Brian De Palma film.