There is no denying that some of the best music has come from the females of the black community, and one of the legends is getting a long-awaited biopic.
Black artists have been known for their musical talent and their love for the community. Not only have they made their mark on the American music industry, but have been regarded as legends globally. One of these remarkable artists was Aretha Franklin.
According to USA Today, the music sensation's biopic 'Respect' is going to hit the screens in August 2020 - with the stage director Liesel Tommy set to direct it.
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. pic.twitter.com/cUAML8KHTN— Music History (@TimeinMusic) 8 March 2019
USA Today reports that MGM came out with their announcement on Thursday. While the first woman to win a Tony Award nomination for the Best Direction of a Play, Liesel Tommy will be taking the director's role, Jennifer Hudson has also been brought on-board to play the lead.
Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Hudson was personally handpicked by Ms. Franklin to portray her on the big screen.
The “Dreamgirls” actress was cast as the late Queen of Soul in January 2018 after Franklin selected her for the role. At the time, Hudson performed a medley of Franklin’s songs at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy bash.
Moreover, there are some acclaimed names being associated with the project that has been speculated for a long time. According to USA Today, Callie Khouri, who wrote the 1991′s “Thelma & Louise,” will write the script for this film.
Tommy was nominated for a Tony Award for directing the 2016 Broadway production of “Eclipsed” starring Lupita Nyong’o. She is also set to direct a film adaption of Trevor Noah’s autobiography.
In 2018, the previously announced film had been confirmed once more by the producer Harvey Mason Jr. right after the music legend's death in August. The producer had become her friends and wanted to make sure that her wish be carried out - the making of a film about her life.
The publication, MGM said that the film will follow Franklin's journey from childhood singing in her fame preacher father's choir to her rise as an international superstar.
Scott Bernstein of Tradecraft and Harvey Mason Jr., who has written and produced for both Franklin and Hudson are producers on Respect, and as Deadline notes, the film is set to arrive during primetime for Oscar hopefuls to make their commercial debuts.
Hudson, of course, is no stranger to the Oscars' stage having won the award for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for her role in Dreamgirls. Currently, the only other film scheduled to arrive on the same date as Respect is an untitled Universal film.
The possibility of a movie on the Queen of Soul has been percolating for many years. In 2010, Franklin sent out a press release suggesting that Halle Berry play the young Aretha (and Denzel Washington for her late father, noted Detroit minister C.L. Franklin). Two years later, she said in an interview that Taylor Hackford was going to be the director.
While the drama biopic is set to hit the screens soon, there is another major channel that is looking to honor the music legend.
Earlier in February, it was confirmed that third season of National Geographic's scripted anthology series Genius will be revolving around the life of Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. The announcement was made to TCA.
Genius was renewed for a third season in April, with author Mary Shelley revealed as its subject, to follow Albert Einstein and Picasso. The Mary Shelley story remains in consideration for future installments of the anthology series. The idea of doing a Franklin-centered Genius came together quickly following the music icon’s death.
The project had been moving full steam ahead since, with securing access to Franklin’s music considered the one key element that would clinch a green light.