With only 100 days left to go before the long-delayed debut of Respect, MGM has released new two photos from director Liesl Tommy’s upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, starring Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul. Originally scheduled for December 2020 release, the film has been pushed back to August 13, 2021, which sees Respect going up against a tough competition in the form of 20th Century Studios’ long-delayed action-comedy Free Guy starring Ryan Reynolds. Check out the full photos in the gallery below!
The first still is set in a stage, featuring Hudson’s Aretha Franklin singing along with the backup vocals of her cousin Brenda Franklin and two sisters Carolyn and Erma Franklin, who are being portrayed by Brenda Nicole Moorer, Hailey Kilgore, and Saycon Sengbloh, respectively. The second one features Hudson singing while playing a piano with Marc Maron’s Jerry Wexler and Marlon Wayans’s Ted White in the background.
Respect, a title based on one of the legendary singer’s most iconic songs, follows the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom. It is the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to finding her voice. This marks the first authorized feature film based on Franklin’s life.
The film will be led by Academy Award-winning singer-actress Jennifer Hudson, who was personally hand-picked by Franklin to play her in the film. Joining her are Forest Whitaker as Reverand C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Audra McDonald as Barbara Siggers Franklin, Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington, Marc Maron as Jerry Wexler, Tituss Burgess as James Cleveland, Saycon Sengbloh as Erma Franklin, Hailey Kilgore as Carolyn Franklin, Tate Donovan as John Hammond, and Skye Dakota Turner.
Respect is directed by Tony-nominee Liesl Tommy (Broadway’s Eclipsed) from a screenplay written by Emmy-nominee Tracey Scott Wilson (The Americans, Fosse/Verdon). Producers are Scott Bernstein (Straight Outta Compton) and multiple Grammy-nominated producer Harvey Mason Jr.(Dreamgirls), who has produced music for both Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Hudson.
The film will exclusively feature the iconic songs: Respect; I Say A Little Prayer; Think; (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman; You’ve Got A Friend; Dr. Feelgood; Do Right Woman, Do Right Man; Spanish Harlem; and Young, Gifted and Black. The film will also feature Ain’t No Way; Precious Lord; There’s A Fountain Filled With Blood; Amazing Grace; and Chain of Fools.