‘Respect’ Trailer: Jennifer Hudson Stars in Aretha Franklin Biopic

Oscar winner Hudson is a powerhouse in the first full look at the movie, which opens in limited release on Christmas Day.

The first full trailer for MGM’s “Respect,” the upcoming Aretha Franklin starring vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul, has arrived. The preview dropped Sunday night following Hudson’s performance at the BET Awards, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

The film directed by Liesl Tommy was originally slated to open in theaters October 9, but was pushed to a limited Christmas Day debut, to be followed by an expansion kicking off January 8 and a wide opening on January 15, timed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Expect a major awards play for star Hudson, who previously won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her scene-stealing turn in the musical “Dreamgirls.” Watch the trailer for “Respect” below.

The film charts the highs and lows of Franklin’s life and career. She began as a young gospel singer in Detroit and became a smash success after signing to Atlantic Records in 1966, churning out hit after hit including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think,” and “I Say a Little Prayer.” By the end of the 1960s, she was dubbed the Queen of Soul. Franklin died in 2018 at the age of 76 following a career that included 17 Grammy wins, and a life full of civil rights activism.

The film’s cast also includes Forest Whitaker as her father C.L. Franklin, Audra McDonald as her mother Barbara Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Aretha Franklin’s first husband Ted White, Mary J. Blige as musician and singer Dinah Washington, Gilbert Glenn Brown as Martin Luther King Jr., Marc Maron as music journalist and producer Jerry Wexler, and Tituss Burgess as Reverend Dr. James Cleveland.

This is the first feature from director Liesl Tommy, who’s worked in television helming episodes of “Mrs. Fletcher,” “Queen Sugar,” “The Walking Dead,” “Jessica Jones,” “Insecure,” and “Dietland.” “Respect” is written by Tracey Scott Wilson, also a television mainstay having written scripts for “Fosse/Verdon.” “Traitors,” and “The Americans.”

“Respect” is the latest movie to come out of a new wave of upcoming music biopics, which last year included Academy Award winners “Judy,” “Rocketman,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” These films are Oscar catnip, from “La Vie en Rose” to “Walk the Line” and “Ray.” Next up is Baz Luhrmann’s take on the life of Elvis Presley, played by Austin Butler, and James Mangold is at work on a Bob Dylan biopic starring Timothée Chalamet as the folk icon.

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