Jennifer Hudson on portraying Aretha Franklin in 'Respect': 'You don't want to let her down'

Jennifer Hudson on portraying Aretha Franklin in 'Respect': 'You don't want to let her down'

Jennifer Hudson will official debut as the late Aretha Franklin when Respect hits theaters Friday, Aug. 13, and it has been a long process to get it there.

The powerhouse musician and Oscar-winning actress opened up about portraying the Queen of Soul on E!'s Daily Pop:

"It gave me the encouragement to get through it" Hudson said of the fact Franklin personally cast her for the biopic. "But it still adds pressure because you don't want to let her down, you know what I mean? And then it's personal to me for that reason and knowing her and all of that. It's a bit of both. One minute, it's like, Oh my god, I'm so excited! And the next second, it's a bunch of anxiety."


The 39-year-old also recounted her final conversation with Franklin, who she had kept in touch with weekly. "I miss hearing from her," she said. "The last thing we spoke about was what she had eaten, and then I was telling about my son cooking. And he was like, 'Mother, is that Aretha Franklin on the phone?!' And it's like, 'Yeah, this is Aretha.' That sticks in my mind, and I'm so glad he was there to share that moment."


Franklin's youngest son, Kecalf Franklin, approved Respect and lauded Hudson for doing a "phenomenal job" of "providing your GOD given talents to depict our mother/grandmothers' life story" after a private screening in late July (h/t Detroit Free Press).


The film will arrive almost exactly three years after Franklin passed away Aug. 16, 2018, due to pancreatic cancer. The 18-time Grammy winner was 76 years old.


Directed by Liesl Tommy, Respect also stars the likes of Forest Whitaker, Audra McDonald, Marlon Wayans and Tituss Burgess. Watch the official trailer below.

Megan Armstrong (@megankarmstrong) is a writer with previous work appearing in places such as Billboard, Bleacher Report, GQ and others. She's most interested in writing about people and how they live their lives, through the framework of music, entertainment and sports.

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