Respect, the Aretha Franklin biopic which appears August 13, narrates the songstress’ speedy surge to popularity by leaning greatly right into her songs. But it additionally doesn’t forget to explore the personal struggles she faced and private relationships that brought her pain, such as her first marriage to husband Ted White.
Marlon Wayans, who brings her toxic lover to life, spoke to Screen Rant about leaning into the insecurities that led Ted to treat Aretha so terribly and about his own far more fruitful friendship with star Jennifer Hudson.
Jennifer Hudson is Aretha Franklin in the official trailer for the biopic Respect. Directed by Liesl Tommy and written by Tracey Scott Wilson and Callie Khouri, Respect tells the story of the legendary singer and civil rights activist. The title of the movie comes from the title of one of Franklin's most memorable songs, a cover of the Otis Redding hit “Respect.” You can watch the official trailer below.
Jennifer Hudson, who first rose to fame as a finalist on American Idol, has been acclaimed for her talents in both singing and acting. She made her movie debut in the 2006 musical Dreamgirls with her role earning her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. After this success, she'd win a Grammy for Best R&B Album for her self-titled debut album. It's hard to say she does not have the credentials to play someone like Turner, and the trailer shows how believable she really is in the part.
“What better way to go back to the theaters than through the Queen of Soul?” Hudson recently told reporters of Respect's release this summer, via Billboard. “We can all come together. Your children love her. Your mom loves her, your grandparents… Take the family. It's something we've all been waiting for, including myself, not only to share with the world but for everyone to see. It's a perfect film and a perfect way to get back to the theater.”
Director Liesl Tommy added: “I made the film to be seen on the big screen. I want to show our lavish locations. Our costumes are lush and we labored over the design of the sound… It all had to live up to Ms. Franklin; She embodied excellence and taste, so our movie has to live in that same place. I think there's something glorious about her journey, and… I need a little glory in my life right now, after Covid…I feel people will be healed by this movie.”
Sadly, the real Aretha Franklin died in 2018, but she knew Hudson would be playing her in a biopic. Prior to Franklin's passing, she had actually met with Hudson to discuss the role. Franklin then personally chose Hudson to play her in Respect and was even the one who delivered the news to the young Grammy and Oscar winner herself.
“We met in New York and had a talk about it,” Hudson explained. “There was no script at all. She wanted to meet with me… [Franklin later] called me and said, ‘I've made my decision, and I want you to play me' — but don't you tell a soul!' ‘Yes ma'am, I won't.'”
Respect is scheduled to be released in theaters on Aug. 13, 2021. Along with Hudson in the lead role, the biopic also stars Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, and Mary J. Blige. Meanwhile, music lovers can look forward to many other biopics about popular musicians in the future as well, including new movies about such names as Joey Ramone, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and Cher. The new official trailer comes to us from MGM Studios.
The first trailer for Respect has landed. Jennifer Hudson is playing Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, in the movie, which will undoubtedly get some more hype when awards season begins. Hudson, already known for being a great singer, has stepped up her game in a major way for the upcoming movie and we've only seen a few minutes of footage at this time. There is a reason that Franklin handpicked the actress to play her on the big screen before her death.
Respect takes a look at the life of Aretha Franklin from singing in her father's church choir to becoming one of the most famous voices of all time. The movie also charts some of the setbacks she dealt with along the way, which were abundant. The project has been in the works for a number of years, with Franklin on board until her death in 2018. At this time, Respect is still on schedule to open in theaters this December. It's hard to tell what will happen with movie theaters for the rest of the year, but most major chains are planning to reopen in July.
Respect features Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin, Forest Whitaker as C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Audra McDonald as Barbara Franklin, Tituss Burgess as Reverend Dr. James Cleveland, and Marc Maron as Jerry Wexler. Kimberly Scott takes on the role as Mama Franklin, while Saycon Sengbloh is Erma Franklin, Hailey Kilgore as Carolyn Franklin, Heather Headley as Clara Ward, and Skye Dakota Turner as Young Aretha Franklin. Tate Donovan stars as John Hammond and Mary J. Blige plays Dinah Washington.
Aretha Franklin was a singer, songwriter, actress, pianist, and civil rights activist. Her singing and piano style have been widely imitated over the years by a number of artists. She found success in 1966 after signing to Atlantic Records, fueled by songs like “Respect,” “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” By the end of the 1960s, she was dubbed the Queen of Soul.
Director Liesl Tommy makes her feature debut with Respect. Tommy is the very first Black woman ever nominated for a Tony award for Best Direction of a Play in 2016 for Eclipsed, as well as is an Associate Artist at the Berkeley Rep as well as an Artist Trustee with the Sundance Institute's Board of Trustees. The movie features a story by Callie Khouri (Thelma and Louise) and Tracey Scott Wilson, with a screenplay created by Wilson. Wilson as well as Tommy have worked together creatively since the 2009 play The Good Negro written by Wilson, directed by Tommy at The Public Theatre. Wilson was a writer on FX's The Americans which garnered her a Peabody Award as well as Emmy as well as WGA Award nominations. Respect is produced by Scott Bernstein p.g.a., Harvey Mason Jr., as well as Jonathan Glickman, with Stacy Sher, Jennifer Hudson, Sue Baden-Powell, Aaron L. Gilbert, as well as Jason Cloth aboard as executive manufacturers. You can take a look at the Respect trailer over, many thanks to the MGM YouTube network.