The stars of the upcoming MGM and Bron Creative Aretha Franklin biopic has been revealed.
Mary J. Blige and Heather Headley are set to appear in Respect, alongside Jennifer Hudson, who was handpicked by the Queen of Soul herself to portray her in the film.
Blige, a history-making Oscar nominee, will portray R&B/soul forerunner Dinah Washington.
Headley, who is a Tony and Grammy winner, will play Clara Ward, the frontwoman of gospel group The Famous Ward Sisters.
According to Deadline, Respect will recollect Franklin’s unprecedented journey to her throne as the most prized artist of our time —from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom.
The film is directed by Liesl Tommy and produced by Scott Bernstein (Straight Outta Compton) and Harvey Mason Jr. (Dreamgirls).
“I am thrilled with the incredibly talented cast we have assembled for our film, and I’m so proud that Ms. Franklin entrusted us to tell her story and to share it with the world,” said Tommy in a statement. “As a storyteller, hers is the kind of story we all dream of telling. Her music has inspired me since I was a little girl, and the milestones of her life and career have shown us all how to strive and thrive.”
He continued, “To have this powerhouse group of actors – and the phenomenal talent of Jennifer Hudson in this iconic role – means we have the chance of making this film as transcendent as her glorious life and legacy.”
Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Skye Dakota Turner, and more are tapped for the film set to begin production this November. Respect will premiere in theaters on August 14, 2020.
Earlier this month, National Geographic revealed that Cynthia Erivo will portray Franklin in the third season of their Genius anthology series.