MGM Studios released the official trailer to the highly anticipated Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect, which hits theaters on August 13, 2021.
Starring Academy-Award-winning actor Jennifer Hudson as the First Lady of Gospel, Respect, is the remarkable true story that follows the Queen of soul’s journey from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom and finding her voice. The trailer does a powerful job of telling this story, while also building further anticipation of the film.
Working alongside Hudson in the film are acting veterans like Forest Whitaker as Aretha’s father C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Heather Headly as Clara Ward, and Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington.
Hudson, who also serves as one of the executive producers of the film, had been in discussion with the late legend about portraying her for over fifteen years. When the moment finally came, she stated that it felt surreal.
“My very first reaction in the role, I was in disbelief in a way because Aretha and I had talked about this for over fifteen years,” she revealed to Entertainment Weekly. “It’s like ‘is it really happening now?'”
Hudson discovered that Franklin had an introverted personality, and knowing that while learning to master the singer’s craft, was important in helping her discover their similarities.
“To be able to try to embody that regal presence, that royalness, and that spirit; and the church which she brought. To me, if anything is our biggest connection is that spiritual background and base,” she said in an interview with Access Hollywood.
In 2004 Hudson was featured on season 3 of the Fox television show, American Idol. Ironically during her audition, she sang one of Franklin’s songs, “Share Your Love.” Reflecting on her audition, she believed it all led to this moment.
“I truly feel like my whole life prepared me for it, knowing how Aretha influenced me musically or how many times I performed her songs.”
Grammy Award Winner Blige honored Hudson for playing Franklin.
“She really embodied young and shy Aretha. I never knew Aretha was ever shy, so from what I saw, she really looked like Aretha,” Blige shared.
Take an exclusive look at the trailer below.