Joining Hudson will be a star-studded cast long on musical and acting talent. Supporting roles include Mary J. Blige, who will play blues singer Dinah Washington, Forest Whitaker, channeling Franklin’s father, and Marlon Wayans, who will play Franklin’s first husband Ted White. Tony and Grammy Award winner Heather Headley, Tituss Burgess, and Skye Dakota Turner (who takes on the role of a young Aretha, after playing the young Tina Turner in the Broadway musical Tina) will also make appearances in the film.

At the helm of the much-anticipated biopic will be award-winning director Liesl Tommy. While the South African-born Tommy has gotten recognition for her direction on Broadway, she has also sat in the director’s chair for Queen Sugar and is slated to helm the adaptation of Trevor Noah’s bestselling memoir, Born a Crime.