Give Jennifer Hudson all the awards right now. The first teaser for the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect just dropped, and the Queen of Soul herself would be giving Hudson a standing ovation.
In the 36-second clip, the Academy Award winner appears in a long, glittery gold gown and belts a few lines from the legendary song, which became an anthem for the feminist and civil rights movements in the late ’60s and early ’70s. You can’t take your eyes of Hudson in the clip; she’s magnetic as Franklin, adapting her presence and style and belting powerful vocals that demand you hear more.
Franklin had a hand in choosing Hudson to take on the role years before her death due to pancreatic cancer in 2018. Hudson is currently starring in the film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway show Cats, and the former American Idol contestant has admitted that she has “huge shoes to fill” in playing the iconic diva. In an interview with Sunday Morning, she said she’s 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.’”
The film is still in production, with first-time feature film director Liesl Tommy (best known for directing the Tony-nominated Broadway play, Eclipsed) behind the camera. Respect also stars Oscar winner Forest Whittaker as Franklin’s father, C.L. Franklin; Tony winner Audra McDonald as her mother, Barbara Siggers Franklin; Grammy winner Mary J. Blige as the “Queen of Blues” Dinah Washington; comedian Marlon Wayans as her first husband Ted White; and comedian Marc Maron as Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler.
Respect hits theaters October 8, 2020.