According to The Grio, the Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson has started filming in Atlanta.
The movie, Respect, will be directed by award-winning stage director Liesl Tommy (who was nominated for a Tony Award for directing the 2016 Broadway production of Eclipsed, which starred Lupita Nyong’o). The script is by Oscar-winning Thelma & Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri.
It was announced last year, before Franklin’s death, that singer and actress Hudson would play the role of the Queen of Soul. The actress, who an Oscar for her work in 2006’s Dreamgirls, was handpicked by Franklin.
According to multiple outlets, MGM has slated the film for an Aug. 14, 2020, release, which would almost fall on the second anniversary of the soul singer’s death from pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16, 2018. Straight Outta Compton’s Scott Bernstein and songwriter Harvey Mason Jr. will produce Respect. The biopic is reportedly based on Franklin’s own 1999 memoir, Aretha: From These Roots.
Franklin told Billboard.com in 2011 that she hoped Halle Berry would play her, although the Oscar-winning actress was concerned that she’d have to sing. “A lot of movies come out where it’s the original artist and their songs are lip-sung to,” Franklin explained. “That is how it would turn out if it’s Halle. If not, if for instance it’s Jennifer Hudson, she might sing one or two, but the rest would still be my original records. We’re definitely going to use the original records. I may re-record some things, too.” See more at Black Enterprise.