As if Aretha Franklin’s approval that Jennifer Hudson might play her in a biopic one day wasn’t enough, the first look at the movie Respect proves that Hudson was really the only actress and singer who could do the role justice.
But don’t expect a movie about the Queen of Soul in all of her outspoken glory. Respect, directed by South African director Liesl Tommy, meets Franklin at the beginning of her career as she struggled to find success. “Find the songs that move you, until you do that you ain’t going nowhere,” Mary J. Blige, playing singer Dinah Washington, tells Franklin in the trailer. Audra McDonald, who was at one point on the list to play Aretha, will play Franklin’s mother.
Respect comes at a time when Hollywood is in love with music biopics—a Timothée Chalamet Bob Dylan biopic is on the way, as well as a Whitney Houston movie. Originally intended to open in October, Respect is now getting a limited release on Christmas Day with a wide opening to follow in January 2021.