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'Respect': Jennifer Hudson shines as Aretha Franklin in new biopic trailer

Hudson was given Franklin's approval to play her in the movie in the months before her death

The official trailer for Respect, an Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson, was released during the 2020 BET Awards on Sunday night.

The 1.29-minute teaser starts with Hudson singing the Queen of Soul's hit Respect, from which the film takes its title.

'Respect' is due for release in December 2020. YouTube / MGM 
'Respect' is due for release in December 2020. YouTube / MGM

The film charts Franklin's early career, following her rise to music industry success. It also stars Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Queen Latifah, Mary J Blige, Marc Maron, Tate Donovan, Tituss Burgess and Skye Dakota Turner. Wayans stars as Ted White, Franklin's manager and first husband, while Whitaker plays C L Franklin, the powerhouse singer's father.

The film is scheduled for a limited December release, before a wider mid-January release. This staggered approach is traditionally indicative of a studio vying for awards attention, as to qualify for an Academy Award, a film has to be released in the previous year.

However, in 2021, the release deadline has been extended until the end of February, to accommodate delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Respect was originally scheduled for an August release, but was also delayed by restrictions imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Aretha Franklin in February 2011. The beloved 'Respect' singer died in August 2018. EPA
Aretha Franklin in February 2011. The beloved 'Respect' singer died in August 2018. EPA

Franklin, who accrued a number of awards during her career, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, died of pancreatic cancer at the age 76 in August 2018. However, until her death, she had played a part in the film's production and development.

The film was first announced in January 2018. At the time, Hudson posted an Instagram picture confirming the news, saying: "[You] have no idea how humbled I am!"

American record producer, and longtime friend and creative partner of Franklin's, Clive Davis, spoke about the casting to Rolling Stone in 2018, saying: "When the biopic of the great Aretha Franklin is filmed next year, the artist anointed by Aretha herself to play her is the next performer. Aretha personally told me that last week."

Updated: June 29, 2020 04:58 PM

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