The MGM-produced biopic of Aretha Franklin, aptly titled Respect after her career-defining cover of the Otis Redding song, has just rounded out its cast. This includes a number of Emmy, Grammy, Tony, Golden Globe, and Academy Award-nominated/winning names like Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Mary J. Blige, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Skye Dakota Turner, and Tate Donovan. Jennifer Hudson will be portraying the iconic Queen of Soul herself, as the film follows Franklin’s career from childhood to international fame.
Director Liesl Tommy had this to say of the film, “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.”
Respect will be directed from a script written by Tracey Scott Wilson. Hudson will serve as one of the film’s executive producers while Scott Bernstein and Harvey Mason Jr. are producing. According to Bernstein and Mason Jr., Franklin has some input on the moments shared in the biopic before her death, adding, “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.”
Production for the film begins on November 1 and the film is scheduled to be released on August 4, 2020.