MGM’s upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect, has revealed the first look at Jennifer Hudson as the legendary singer. The Oscar winner is pitch-perfect in the preview clip featuring her belting out Aretha’s famous song that serves as the title for the film.
Hudson sings an a cappella rendition of the hit tune — and it is phenomenal. Throughout the stripped-down performance, the camera pulls out slowly to feature Hudson, as Aretha, standing in front of a large sign that reads R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Instruments are then added, and the pace picks up as Hudson gives an applause-worthy performance of the 1967 hit.
The clip is less than 45 seconds long but it speaks volumes. It is simple, classic, and intriguing as Hudson gives fans a small glimpse of what can be expected from the upcoming movie. Respect follows Aretha’s rise to fame, starting with singing in her father’s choir and culminating in her becoming the Queen of Soul.
Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Mary J. Blige, Marc Maron, Tate Donovan, Tituss Burgess, and newcomer Skye Dakota Turner round out the talented cast joining Hudson in the film. Aretha was involved in the project before she passed away in August 2018. The movie has been in development for years.
Scott Bernstein and Harvey Mason Jr. are producing the music for the biopic. They worked closely with both Aretha and Hudson to determine to most accurate sound for the film.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, other hits from the iconic songstress featured in the movie include, I Say a Little Prayer, Think, (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman, You’ve Got a Friend, and Dr. Feelgood.
I don't think anybody can do Aretha Franklin's songs justice like she can, but Jennifer Hudson looks like she's got the voice and the shoes to do the Queen of Soul proud. #Respect may even replace Chicago and… https://t.co/ZyUQfywDA6
— thewordofed (@thewordofed) December 20, 2019
The highly anticipated flick hits theaters Oct. 9, 2020.
National Geographic is also set to feature Aretha in the third season of the anthology series, Genius, which is set to premiere in May. Actress Cynthia Erivo, who is best known for playing Harriet Tubman in the recent biopic Harriet, will take on the role of Aretha Franklin in the series.