Jennifer Hudson was handpicked by the late Queen of Soul herself to play Aretha Franklin in the enormously anticipated biopic which, following a few months of post-COVID wrangling, finally has a trailer that lets us see RESPECT in action. Hudson, one of the few performers alive who can realistically pull of Franklin’s once-in-a-generation voice, looks terrific in the role, which tells the story of one woman’s legendary career that almost wasn’t. Franklin’s early records were commercial disappointments, and it took this church girl going back to her Gospel roots to find the sound that would eventually make her a star, and then, an icon.
Director Liesl Tommy is making her directorial debut following a storied career helming stage plays, where she became the first woman of color ever nominated for Tony for directing. Mary J. Blige, Marlon Wayans and Forest Whitaker are also here, along with music biopic fixtures Marc Maron and Tate Donovan. Can’t wait for this one. RESPECT will be in theaters(!) this August.