Jennifer Hudson Is Aretha Franklin In First Teaser For 'Respect' Biopic

by Leah Groth

Jennifer Hudson perfectly channels legendary singer Aretha Franklin in the newly released ‘Respect’ teaser

When Aretha Franklin picked Jennifer Hudson to play her in a film about her life, just months before her death in August 2018 at the age of 76, we weren’t surprised the least bit. After all, the Oscar and Grammy winning actress is a dazzling ingenue with one of the sweetest voices in the music industry. Well, the MGM biopic is in the midst of being made, and earlier this week the film studio released the first teaser of the highly anticipated film. From what we can see in the brief teaser, Hudson is paying Franklin all the R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the world, channeling the late star in dazzling fashion.

In the 44-second clip, Hudson appears as Franklin, wearing a gorgeous gold gown. “What you want, baby I got it” she sings, her voice exploding in the auditorium. “What you need, you know I got it. All I’m asking, is for a little respect,” she continues, epically nailing the Otis Reading cover song.

Of course, she continues to sing the famous “R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me,” verse, before the title words of the song — and the tiles of the movie — is spelled out in giant glowing letters behind her.

“Academy Award Winner Jennifer Hudson is Aretha Franklin. Find out what it means in theaters 2020,” flashes across the screen for a dramatic Hollywood finish to a short, but sweet teaser that has us begging for more.

Stage director Liesl Tommy, who is helming the film, previously told Deadline that it will track Franklin’s “coming of age to icon status, with 20 No. 1 R&B hits, 18 Grammy Awards en route to becoming the first female to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

She (yes, she!) said: “The story of Aretha Franklin’s journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova is rife with struggle and triumph, making her life one of the great American stories of all time. As a filmmaker there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman’s fight for self-realization to visual life with the enormous talents of the soulful Jennifer Hudson, Callie Khouri, and our incredible producers.”

The Respect cast also includes Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Tate Donovan, Heather Headley, Skye Dakota Turner, and Mary J. Blige.

The only bad thing? We are going to have to almost an entire year — until October 9, 2020 to be exact — to experience Respect. Until then, if you want to get your Hudson fix, check her out in Cats. However, judging from the film’s epically bad reviews, you might just want to stay home and experience her Oscar-winning performance of Dreamgirls instead.