Respect Featurette Shows Jennifer Hudson’s Transformation Into Aretha Franklin

A brand new Respect featurette for MGM’s forthcoming Aretha Franklin biopic drama has been released, which is scheduled to arrive in theaters on Friday, August 13. The video features interviews from director Liesl Tommy, Forest Whitaker, Mary J. Blige, and more as they talked about the process of how Jennifer Hudson transformed into the legendary singer including learning how to play piano and getting a movement coach. Hudson was personally hand-picked by Franklin, who was involved in the development of the project up until her death in 2018 at the age of 76.

In addition, the first original song titled “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home),” from Respect‘s upcoming official soundtrack has already been released. The soundtrack is set to launch on the same day as the film’s theatrical release and is now available to Pre-Save on your preferred streaming streaming service. Performed by Hudson who also co-wrote it with Carole King and Jamie Hartman with will.i.am as its producer, you can listen to the new song in the player below along with the new featurette.

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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 stars Academy Award-winning singer-actress Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul, 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.

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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.