In the video (above), Hudson is dressed in a long, sequined, gold gown with her hair cropped into a short haircut. Before you can even see her face, viewers are introduced to her mezzo-soprano voice as she belts out the lyrics from Franklin’s hit “Respect.”
She says, “What you want, baby I got it. What you need, you know I got it,” as the lights sparkle behind her forming the letters R-E-S-P-E-C-T. With the lights finally highlighting her face, Hudson is transformed into the Queen of Soul.
The Liesl Tommy-directed biopic follows Franklin’s life from a child singing in her father’s church choir to achieving international superstardom. It also stars Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Heather Headley, and Mary J. Blige.
Before her death in August 2018, Franklin had hand-picked Hudson to portray her on screen. But Respect isn’t the only depiction of Franklin coming out in the new year. Cynthia Erivo will play the music icon in National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha, set to premiere in May 2020.
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Respect is headed to theaters Oct. 9, 2020.
- Watch Jennifer Hudson’s surprise Aretha Franklin tribute at Pulitzer Prize ceremony
- Jennifer Hudson and Cats costars remix ‘Memory’ with Jimmy Fallon
- The Age of Aretha: Remembering the life and legacy of the late superstar