Before her death in 2018, Aretha Franklin personally requested that the Oscar-winning Jennifer Hudson portray her in the film about her life.
That wish is finally coming true with the movie “RESPECT”, directed by Liesl Tommy, being released in Ireland on September 10th.
After the film’s premiere in LA at the weekend, Hudson’s performance has been praised by critics with The Hollywood Reporter saying, “Respect gives the Queen of Soul the regal treatment she deserves.”
“One of the most impressive parts of it is that way that Hudson acts while singing. She doesn’t sound like Jennifer Hudson doing “Think” — she sounds like a young Aretha Franklin doing “Think.” said MovieMaker
The film also stars Forest Whitaker as Franklin’s father and Mary J Blige as Dinah Washington.
Hudson first came to fame in 2004 as a finalist on “American Idol.” She auditioned for the reality singing competition with Franklin’s song, “Share Your Love With Me.”
Hudson told CNN she’s long considered why the Queen of Soul wanted her in the role.
“This is beyond singing and acting,” Hudson said. “I think she saw something in me…I would not have been able to go as deep as I did to tell the story in an honest way without my own life experiences. So, I think she saw that in me, as well as everything else as far as being an actress and a singer.”
The film tells the story of the rise of Franklin from the little girl singing in her father’s church in Detroit to the megastar who would go on to become the first women inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“RESPECT” is not the only depiction of Franklin’s life to be released this year. TV series Genius: Aretha, starring British actress Cynthia Erivo, was shown on National Geographic in the US earlier this year.
Erivo earned an Emmy nomination for her performance, but Franklin’s family denounced the dramatisation, saying they were not consulted and “did not support” the show.
Aretha Franklin was one of the biggest stars of pop, soul, gospel and R&B, who scored more than 100 hit singles on the US Billboard charts – from Chain of Fools and Respect to Think and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.