After Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in 2004, in 2020, Jennifer Hudson is Aretha Franklin!
South-African director Liesl Tommy (The Walking Dead, Mrs. Fletcher and Marvel’s Jessica Jones) will release “Respect” on September 8, 2021 in France.
“Respect” is a biopic (and a musical) returning on the life of Aretha Franklin who passed away on August 16, 2018.
And it is singer and actress Jennifer Hudson who plays Aretha Franklin in “Respect”. She won an Oscar in 2007 for her part in “Dreamgirls” at the same time as her singing career (revealed in “American Idol” in 2004, she has released 3 solo albums since). Jennifer Hudson also pursues a career as an actress, she has been seen in “Dreamgirls”, “Sex and the city, the movie” and even “Cats”.
Jennifer Hudson shares the screen with other great artists such as Forest Whitetaker (Black Panther, The Butler, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story…), Marlon Wayans (one of the famous Wayans brothers behind the “Scary Movie” saga), and even Mary J. Blige.
A biopic inspired by the life of singer Aretha Franklin, from her childhood with reverend father defending civil rights, with her debuts as an altar girl at her father’s church to her prolific career as the Queen of Soul.
It is hard to sum up Aretha Franklin's crazy life in one movie! And yet, this is the challenge taken up by Liesl Tommy by delivering a very emotional biopic. And if the movie is 2.25-hour long, the director - who could not tell the entire life of the Queen of Soul - has decided to focus on Aretha Franklin's childhood and growing career, choosing to stop her movie in 1972 when the "Amazing Grace" album (the singer's best-selling album) is released. Then, you shall not miss the ending credits summing up and showing archive pictures from 1972 to 2018, when the singer passed away.
Among Franklin's incredible life, the movie director has decided to pick and show us - sometimes far from reality - a few highlights. Especially the creation of her cover of "Respect" by Otis Redding or her tight partnership with her sisters, as one of them tells her "You're Genius", a sentence that gives the title to a series out on Disney+ this past June.
Jennifer Hudson - who does not need to proove her worth as an actress and singer - is a brilliant Aretha Franklin, she is the Queen of Soul and the perfect tormented lady in the grip of some demons. Because violence has always been around in Aretha Franklin's life and even from her youngest age: she lost her mother, she had to face racism, she had to face her violent husband...
Forest Whitaker plays Reverend Franklin, Aretha's father. A very important man in the life of the singer. In the movie, he even sings a bit, as we have seen him already in the "Empire" series.
Although "Respect" is all about Aretha Franklin's early days and life, the fight for civil rights, and racism are major topics in the background of the movie, the singer being an ardent advocate. Moreover, one of Martin Luther King's speeches (played by Gilbert Glenn Brown) echoes to the "Judas and the Black Messiah" movie, out recently, and staging Black Panther Party advocate Fred Hampton.