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Jennifer Hudson Respect poster

Being one of the most significant figures in 20th century music, Aretha Franklin has long deserved the honor of a biopic telling her story on the big screen – but it has taken quite a while for that to actually happen. It was all the way back in 2007 that Franklin herself made it known that she wanted Dreamgirls Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson to play her in a movie, but the project was stuck in development for more than a decade. Thankfully, that time spent in limbo is finally almost over, as Respect is finally coming out at the end of this year, and now we have our first real look courtesy of this brand new trailer:

The BET Awards were held this evening, featuring a performance from Jennifer Hudson, and tied to that special appearance is this exciting Respect trailer. Directed by Liesl Tommy, the film features an outstanding cast including Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald and Mary J. Blige, and tells the story of how Aretha Franklin went from singing gospel in Detroit, Michigan to becoming one of the most beloved musical talents in history. The legendary diva already has an awesome big screen legacy, not only with song contributions to various films, but also her role in the brilliant comedy The Blues Brothers, and now we have entered a new era with this movie.

You probably noticed that this is a surprisingly short debut trailer, clocking in at a little over a minute long, but one could argue that it's pretty perfect. With a film like Respect, what is going to hook audiences and get their attention is the music of Aretha Franklin, and a taste of what to expect from Jennifer Hudson's performance, and that's exactly what this preview delivers without overstaying its welcome. Obviously there will be more footage from the movie posted online between now and December, giving us a longer look at how the movie is approaching the story, but for right now it's easy to appreciate this first look as a great tease.

It seems like a lifetime ago that Jennifer Hudson was competing as a contestant on American Idol, but that was just a couple of years before Dreamgirls and her win at the Oscars for Best Supporting Actress. While she has certainly kept busy, her big screen work in the years since 2007 hasn't earned her the same kind of attention as her breakout role, but Respect looks like it could be a performance that is given a lot of consideration by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Admittedly it's partially because of everything that is presently going on in the world, but just this snapshot of her performance in this trailer is powerful, so one can only wonder and anticipate what she will be bringing to the table when the full thing arrives later this year.

On that note, the current plan for the film is for MGM to release it during one of the most high-profile times of the year: the holiday season. To qualify for awards season, Respect will be getting a limited release on Christmas Day, and then will get a wide release on January 15, 2021. Stay tuned for more news and updates about the film here on CinemaBlend!