Jennifer Hudson Wails as Aretha Franklin in First Official Teaser Trailer for Respect Biopic

Jennifer Hudson in a production still from the Aretha Franklin biopic RESPECT, which is scheduled to hit movie theaters Oct. 2020.
Photo: MGM

She’s shouting it out, for sure.

Like no one else can, Jennifer Hudson is bringing her signature powerhouse vocals to the forefront in the new teaser for the trailer for Respect, the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic.

On Friday, MGM released the promo for the Liesl Tommy-directed feature film chronicling the life and legacy of the late, great Queen of Soul, who died Aug. 2018 at age 76.

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The Academy Award and Grammy Award winner isn’t holding back her signature style of singing in the first look either.

The 40-second clip begins with Hudson, adorned in a sparkly gold gown, standing on a dark stage backlit by bright golden lights.

She is belting out Franklin’s legendary cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect”—in an Effie Melody White-style of singing. (The American Idol alum won raves in her film debut as the scene-stealer in the 2006 film adaption of Broadway’s Dreamgirls.)

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As Hudson comes to the end of the song’s first verse, the word “respect” spelled out in giant illuminated letters appears behind her.

She then belts out the chorus as each letter in the word “respect” lights up as she sings it, and the following message flashes on the screen: “Academy Award Winner Jennifer Hudson…Is Aretha Franklin…Find Out What It Means, in Theaters 2020.”

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As previously reported, Respect will follow Franklin’s rise to superstardom, from her childhood singing gospel in her father’s Baptist church to her emergence as one of the most influential artists in music.

Respect is the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice,” a description of the film noted.

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Photo: MGM

As previously reported, a treasure trove of well-decorated talents is on board for the movie, which has filmed scenes in New York City and Atlanta.

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Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, history-making Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and nine-time Grammy Award winner and two-time Oscar nominee Mary J. Blige join Tony and Grammy Award winner Heather Headley, Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, and Tate Donovan for the movie, which is now scheduled to arrive in theaters in October.

Newcomer Skye Dakota Turner, who currently is starring as a young Anna Mae Bullock in Broadway’s hit musical Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, will also portray the young Aretha Franklin.

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Tony Award winner Clint Ramos, an acclaimed costume designer for Broadway productions (including Lupita Nyong’o’s debut in 2016’s Eclipsed, has been tasked with the daunting tasks of bringing the looks and style of the period film to life.

The Filipino Tisch School of the Arts alum previously won raves for bringing his flair to the Imelda Marcos-based immersive musical Here Lies Love.

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Hudson appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show this week to promote her latest film role in Cats and revealed how the 19-time Grammy Award winner handpicked her for the biopic.

“She’s an iconic figure that we all love and respect and admire,” Hudson recalled, sharing that Franklin went to see her in the Scott Sanders-produced revival of The Color Purple on Broadway. “She called me and she was like, ‘I made my decision and it is you I want to play me. But don’t you tell anyone’... ‘Ma’am I won’t say a thing. I’ll do whatever you tell me to do.’”

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The Chicago native added that she was “still in shock” about the casting.

Hailing from "the thorough borough" of Brooklyn, Mr. Daniels has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Essence, VIBE, NBC News, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News and Word Up!

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