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Jennifer Hudson to Star in Aretha Franklin Biopic Respect

Eclipsed director Liesl Tommy is set to direct a script by Thelma & Louise writer Callie Khouri.

Jennifer Hudson will play Aretha Franklin in the upcoming biopic Respect.
(© David Gordon)

According to published reports, MGM has set Jennifer Hudson (The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, the upcoming Cats film) to play Aretha Franklin in a biopic directed by Tony Award-nominated stage director Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed) and written by Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise).

Respect will chronicle the life of the "Queen of Soul," from singing as a child in the church where her father was a minister, to becoming a superstar and civil rights activist. She became the most charted female artist in Billboard's history, won 18 Grammy Awards, and in 1987 became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"It is an absolute honor to be a part of bringing Ms. Franklin's story to audiences who adore her around the world," Hudson said in a statement. "She is one of the most iconic and talented artists of all time and what a dream come true it is to portray her extraordinary life on screen. I could not be more excited to be working alongside Liesl Tommy, a brilliant and thoughtful director, who is no doubt the perfect choice to lead the film."