Respect is coming out on August 12, 2021, after being pushed back from its initial release date of December 2020. It’s a biopic of the legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin and she is being played by singer and actor Jennifer Hudson whom Franklin picked out herself.

Respect has already received some great reviews and though there are a few that have a mixed take on the movie, almost all of them are praising Hudson’s performance.

It’s also worth noting that Hudson already has an Academy Award to her name for her performance in the 2006 musical Dreamgirls.

It was also her role in Dreamgirls that led to Hudson being handpicked by Franklin herself to portray her in the biopic. 13 years after her first Academy Awards and it looks like Hudson will soon win her second for Respect.

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Her work in the upcoming biopic has received positive feedback and many are certain she will win an Oscar for it.

If Hudson wins an Academy Award for her performance, she will join the list of actors who won an Oscar for their portrayal of a music legend — Jamie Foxx won for Ray (2004), Reese Witherspoon won for Walk the Line (2005), Marion Cotillard won for La Vie En Rose (2007), and Rami Malek won for Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).

Hudson and Franklin

Franklin singled out Hudson to be the one to play her in her biopic years before Respect even started production. And though Hudson was stoked to play the part, she says she still doesn’t know why Franklin chose her.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jennifer Hudson (@iamjhud)

However, the ‘If This Isn’t Love’ hitmaker said in an interview with Variety that it might be because Franklin’s story is similar to her own.

I think it goes beyond the singing and how Jennifer sings and acts. It’s within the scene when Aretha’s mother comes to her; it felt so true to my own life. And in that moment I was like, ‘I don’t think I would’ve been able to tell the story without my own life experience and triumphs.’

After she was picked to play Franklin, Hudson and the Queen of Soul started talking every week and texted frequently. They grew closer in the process and it helped Hudson do a better job. 

Aside from talking with Franklin on a regular basis, Hudson immersed herself in things that mattered to Franklin and even learned to play the piano.

When talking to Entertainment Studios, Hudson said working on the movie had helped her learn a lot of life lessons as well as expand as a musician.

Cast

Marlon Wayans (Little Man) plays Ted White, Franklin’s early manager, songwriter, and first husband.

The music legend’s parents C.L. Franklin and Barbara Franklin are played by Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and Audra McDonald (Private Practice) respectively.

Some of the other actors who are in Respect are Marc Maron (GLOW), Tituss Burgess (Set It Up), Saycon Sengbloh (In the Dark), and Hailey Kilgore (Amazing Stories).