Watch Jennifer Hudson Sing 'Respect' and Stun as Aretha Franklin in First Footage from New Biopic
The Queen of Soul is in good hands.
On Friday, movie and music fans alike were treated to the first glimpse of Jennifer Hudson singing as music legend Aretha Franklin in the upcoming biopic RESPECT. In the 45-second teaser footage, the Oscar winner, 38, belts Franklin’s iconic 1967 song that inspired the title of the movie.
With spotlights trained on her, Hudson performs in-character in the dramatic music sequence, which sees her glammed-up in a sparkly gold dress while holding an equally shiny microphone. With the all-capped word lit up behind her, she spells “respect” in the song’s iconic fashion.
The brief look at the film promises at least one standout vocal performance from Hudson, similar to the caliber of big-screen singing fans have come to expect from the actress following roles in 2006’s Dreamgirls and the new movie adaptation of Cats.
“Find out what it means,” the film’s tagline reads, honoring the hit song’s lyrics.
Set to track Franklin’s rise to stardom from her time as a child singing in her father’s church choir, RESPECT boasts a cast of familiar faces, including Marlon Wayans, Forest Whitaker, Audra McDonald, Mary J. Blige and Tituss Burgess.
Earlier this month, Hudson expressed her passion for the role while also sharing her nerves in taking on such an important figure. The star said she’s very much aware of the significance of the story, which she intends to handle with care and respect.
“Those are huge shoes to fill,” she told Sunday Today. “I am just taking it one step at a time, one day at a time. All I want to do is pay tribute to her and meet her requests, you know? Like, ‘Aretha said do this?’ — ‘Yes, ma’am.’”
After years trying to bring the project together, Hudson said she simply wants to get it right and honor Franklin, who died in August 2018 at age 76 due to pancreatic cancer.
“We were in talks a long time about me playing her,” she added, “so I just hope I make her proud [and] do her justice.”
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While Hudson’s role as Franklin was announced last year, in 2016, Franklin told PEOPLE that she had already approved of who was going to portray her on-screen.
“I’ve talked to the person that is going to play me,” she said. “I’m not going to say who I chose, but I’ve talked to her and she’s ready and I’m happy with her.”
In November, Hudson was spotted filming the movie in New York City. In the set photos, she got into character wearing a retro-style bun paired with an over-sized tweed coat and elaborate earrings, as she walked the streets beside costar Wayans, 47, who plays Franklin’s first husband, Ted White.
Wayans looked the part dressed in a plaid coat, gray suit and a classic feathered-fedora hat. One of the on-set photos captured the pair taking a break from their walk to lock lips for a romantic scene.
RESPECT is slated for a theatrical release on Oct. 9, 2020.