Jennifer Hudson Transforms into Aretha Franklin in the Trailer for Respect

Lucia Tonelli
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Town & Country

Eagerly awaiting details on the Aretha Franklin biopic: Respect? A new trailer, which dropped during Sunday’s BET Awards, offers some insight into what we can expect from the forthcoming film.

Here's what we know so far.

Talk of an Aretha Franklin biopic has been happening for years.

While the first teaser trailer for Respect (below)was only released in December 2019, Franklin had talked up the idea of a movie being made about her life for more than a decade. Before her passing in 2018, Franklin famously made a point to handpick Jennifer Hudson to portray her. While the Queen of Soul's goosebump-inducing vocals may be inimitable, this isn't the first time Hudson has performed in the late singer's honor. She sang at Franklin's funeral, CBS’s Aretha! (A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul), and Clive Davis’s tribute to Franklin.

The rest of the cast is stacked, too.

In addition to Hudson, the cast includes Forest Whitaker, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Mary J. Blige, Marlon Wayans, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Skye Dakota Turner, and Tate Donovan.

Respect will be director Liesl Tommy's feature debut.

While the stage and film director's past work includes The Walking Dead and Insecure, Respect will be her first big feature. Tommy was the first Black woman ever nominated for a Tony award for Best Direction of a Play for “Eclipsed” in 2016.

The film will show more than just Franklin's career highlights.

From the new teaser trailer (above), it's clear that, in addition to spotlighting Franklin's rise to stardom, the MGM biopic will highlight her early life in Detroit, involvement in the civil rights movement, and, in the wise words of the Queen of Soul, her fight for “respect”—in the music industry and beyond.

Respect is set to premiere this December.

While an exact date has not been shared just yet, the trailer revealed that the film will be released in theaters this December.

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