For an actor, playing a real-life person has to be both exciting and daunting, and this was the task set before Jennifer Hudson, who portrays music icon Aretha Franklin in the upcoming biopic Respect. The Oscar winner is certainly stepping into some massive shoes, but her biopic casting is a bit more personal than that of other actors. This is because Hudson was actually hand-picked by Franklin herself to play the role. Just thinking about it is enough to give you chills, and Hudson reflected on the moment.
Jennifer Hudson recently spoke to CinemaBlend and other news outlets during a Q&A for Respect, which also featured director Liesl Tommy. During the discussion, Hudson spoke about when and how the Queen of Soul asked her to play, well… the Queen of Soul. And based on how the actress and singer describes it, it was a sweet exchange:
Getting a call from Aretha Franklin sounds crazy enough, but the fact that she personally called to tell Jennifer Hudson the news is just so special. And like Hudson did, I’m sure most of us would have absolutely heeded Franklin’s words and not told anyone. Hudson would go on to discuss the sweet way Franklin has influenced both her life and career and how it helped inform her portrayal:
Jennifer Hudson’s comments are a true testament to the impact Aretha Franklin had on so many. The late singer, actress and activist was so many things to so many people, but it’s nice to hear that Hudson had the privilege of knowing her as a friend and mentor. And based on what we’ve seen of her in the role so far, Hudson is channeling every aspect of the beloved songstress. You can check out the new trailer down below:
It goes without saying that Jennifer Hudson will continue to hold those memories of Aretha Franklin close to her heart. And while Franklin sadly won’t get to see the actress play her on the big screen, it’s safe to say she’d be proud of the work Hudson has put in.
Respect opens in theaters on August 13, 2021.
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