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Audra McDonald initially thought she wasn’t right for the role of Aretha Franklin’s mother in ‘Respect’ biopic


Disney/Todd AndersonAudra McDonald has been cast as Aretha Franklin’s mother in the upcoming Respect biopic, but the six-time Tony Award-winner says producers had to convince her she was perfect for the role.

“When they approached me saying we want you to play her mother, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I don’t think I’m right for that,’” McDonald tells ABC Audio. “They said, ‘Oh no, no, no, you’re right for it, and she was a soprano and so are you, and we just think that it’s right.’”

“I know Aretha talked a lot about maybe wanting me to be involved in some way in a film about her life when she was still alive,” Audra continues, “so I’m honored that they’ve asked me.” 

The 49-year-old singer/actress, who is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame, was featured with Sanaa Lathan, Phylicia Rashad and Diddy in the 2008 TV movie, A Raisin in the Sun. She currently stars in the CBS All Access web series The Good Fight, and was featured for six seasons in the ABC series Private Practice.

Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul, will also star Forest WhitakerMarlon Wayans, and Mary J. Blige.  A release date for Respect has yet to be announced.

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