Saturday, May 8, 2021

Jennifer Hudson Shades Nat Geo’s Aretha Franklin Project: ’If It’s Not a Film, It’s Nothing’

Jennifer Hudson & Aretha Franklin (getty)
Jennifer Hudson & Aretha Franklin (Getty)

*Jennifer Hudson has spoken out about her Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” competing with National Geographic’s limited series on the queen of soul.

The Oscar-winning actress shared a special connection with Franklin. Before her passing in 2018, the music icon gave Hudson her blessing to play her on the big screen.

Meanwhile, Cynthia Erivo has been tapped to play Franklin in Nat Geo’s Genius: Aretha.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hudson had this to say about the two projects: “I know that Aretha was adamant that [her life] be a film. If it’s not a film, it’s nothing. I’m just honored that she picked me to play her. I mean, who can say that? And again, I would have never done it without her wishes.”

READ MORE: Jennifer Hudson on Playing Aretha Franklin: ‘I Still Feel Like She’s In Me’

“Respect” was set for release in theaters in August 2020, but has been pushed back due to the coronavirus. It will have a limited release in the U.S. on Dec. 25, before a wide release on Jan. 15, 2021.

The film’s director Liesl Tommy previously said this of Hudson, “Jennifer may be one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with,” she says. Adding, “we were both so humbled by the task that we just agreed that there would be no ego in the process and that Aretha would be the diva in the room at all times, not us.”

Months after filming wrapped, Hudson said this of Franklin: “I still feel like she’s in me, I really do. I just hope to meet her requests. You think you respect Aretha, but once you see the film and you learn her story, you can’t help but to have a newfound respect for her.”

Of her personal connection with Franklin, Hudson shared, “I still have the text chains, so every now and then I look back at them. The last time I spoke to her was Aug. 8, [2018,] and I can honestly say she sang until her last breath.”

Filming on National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha has been halted after a background actor tested positive for COVID-19, Deadline reports. .

Genius: Aretha is slated to debut in early 2021. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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