Prior to her passing in August 2018, Aretha Franklin hand-picked Jennifer Hudson to portray her in a long-gestating Hollywood biopic. Now, some three years later, the film is finally set to hit theaters.
Named after Franklin’s seminal song, RESPECT chronicles the rise of Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom.
Alongside Hudson, the film stars Forest Whitaker as Aretha’s father, C.L. Franklin; Marlon Wayans as Aretha’s manager and first husband, Ted White; Marc Maron as producer Jerry Wexler; Tituss Burgess as gospel singer James Cleveland; Saycon Sengbloh as Aretha’s sister, Erma Franklin; and Mary J. Blige as singer Dinah Washington.
Liesl Tommy, who became the first Black woman ever nominated for a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play in 2016 for Eclipsed, is making her feature film debut with Respect, with a story written by Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise) and Tracy Scott Wilson (The Americans).
Watch the newly revealed full-length trailer for RESPECT below. The film hits theaters starting August 13th, 2021.