Jennifer Hudson stars as Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect

Respect: Jennifer Hudson demands respect in first trailer for Aretha Franklin biopic

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged that an arrogant bachelor insistent on a wife who meets the strictest of requirements deserves his comeuppance.” 

Aretha Franklin passed away at the age of 76 in 2018 – but there is no doubt in our minds that the Queen of Soul’s legacy will live on forever.

After beginning her 60-year career as a child singing gospel in Detroit, Franklin went on to release such chart-topping hits as Respect, Think, Chain Of Fools, I Say A Little Prayer, and Angel – and has since been recognised as one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. Indeed, she has received no less than 18 Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Grammy Legend Award, with countless other accolades under her belt, too.

Is it any wonder, then, that Franklin is set to become the subject of a star-studded Hollywood biopic

Who stars as Aretha Franklin in Respect?

Vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson, who won an Academy Award for her performance in Dreamgirls, is set to step into the Queen of Soul’s shoes for this movie. And she’s doing so at the request of Franklin herself, too: shortly before her death, the singer asked that Hudson play her in the film.

Speaking about the movie, Hudson told As If: “I go to sleep listening to Aretha, and I wake up listening to Aretha. I just want to do her justice and do the best job I possibly can.”

And, addressing her last interactions with the singer, Hudson added: “”When I would talk to Aretha I felt I knew exactly what she was talking about. When people are that iconic it’s easy to forget they had a life and that they are more than just an entertainer… 

“In our conversations, she was teaching me more about life than her life.”

What is the Respect movie about?

The film charts the highs and lows of Franklin’s life and career, from young gospel singer in Detroit to the Queen of Soul. 

Respect will also pay close attention to her work as a civil rights activist, too.

Where can I watch the electrifying first trailer for Respect?

The first full trailer for Respect dropped Sunday 28 June following Hudson’s performance at the BET Awards, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

Check it out:

“Aretha? You do talk, don’t you? You don’t just sing?” asks Marc Maron’s Jerry Wexler, aka one of the main record industry players behind music from the 1950s through the 1980s.

“I’d like you to call me Miss Franklin,” replies Hudson’s Franklin, proving that she demanded respect not just through song, but through her every spoken word, too.

Cue a plethora of shots of promises to “disturb the peace” and “find the songs that move you”, all interspersed with cuts of Hudson’ performing Franklin’s iconic Respect using her powerhouse vocals.

In a word? Electrifying.

Which stars make up the cast of Respect?

As well as Hudson and Maron, we have Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan, and Mary J. Blige.

When will Respect be released in cinemas?

The film, directed by Liesl Tommy,  was originally scheduled for a cinematic release in October. Thanks to the coronavirus, though, it’s been pushed back to a limited Christmas Day debut, with a full release later in January. 

Anyone else got a feeling this is going to be a surefire hit at the 2021 Oscars? 

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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