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The title and director of the Aretha Franklin biopic, starring Jennifer Hudson, have been revealed


Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesThe upcoming official Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul now has a title and a director.

The film will be called Respect, and will be directed by Liesl (pr: LEE-suhl) Tommy, who in 2016 became the first black woman ever to receive a Tony Award nomination for Best Direction of a Play, for Eclipsed.

The screenplay for Respect will be penned by screenwriter and producer Callie Khouri, whose credits include Thelma & Louise and the TV series Nashville.

The biopic will follow Aretha’s rise to superstardom, from her childhood singing gospel in her father’s church through her emergence as one of the most powerful and influential voices in soul and R&B. The movie also will look at Franklin’s impact on and involvement in the civil rights and women’s movements.

The film will include a variety of Aretha’s most famous songs, including her classic rendition of Otis Redding‘s “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Do Right Woman — Do Right Man” and “Think.”

“The story of Aretha Franklin’s journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova is rife with struggle and triumph, making her life one of the great American stories of all time,” says Tommy in a statement.

“As a filmmaker there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman’s fight for self-realization to visual life.”

Adds Hudson, whom Aretha reportedly hand-picked to play her, “It is an absolute honor to be a part of bringing Ms. Franklin’s story to audiences who adore her around the world. She is one of the most iconic and talented artists of all time and what a dream come true it is to portray her extraordinary life on screen.”

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