MGM has announced the award-winning ensemble cast that will join Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson in “Respect,” a biopic of music icon Aretha Franklin.
Following the rise of Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, the true story tale follows Aretha’s journey to find her voice and is the first authorized feature film based on Franklin’s life.
In the film, Forest Whitaker is Aretha’s father/early manager Reverend CL Franklin, Audra McDonald is Aretha’s mother Barbara Franklin, Marlon Wayans is her first husband Ted White, Saycon Sengbloh and Carolyn Franklin are Aretha’s sisters Erma and Carolyn, and Skye Dakota Turner will play a young Aretha.
Also starring are Mary J. Blige as singer Dinah Washington, Heather Headley as gospel artist Clara Ward, Tituss Burgess as Reverend Dr. James Cleveland, Marc Maron as Atlantic Records music producer Jerry Wexler, and Tate Donovan as Columbia Records producer John Hammond.
Tony-nominee Liesl Tommy directs and Emmy-nominee Tracey Scott Wilson (“The Americans”) pens the film which will be produced by Scott Bernstein and Harvey Mason Jr. The film will feature a ton of the singer’s most famous songs including: Respect; I Say A Little Prayer; Think; (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman; You’ve Got A Friend; Dr. Feelgood; Do Right Woman, Do Right Man; Spanish Harlem; Young, Gifted and Black; Ain’t No Way; Precious Lord; There’s A Fountain Filled With Blood; Amazing Grace; and Chain of Fools.
Franklin had over 100 singles in the Billboard charts and 18 Grammy Awards, and was the first female to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Shooting on the new film begins November 1st ahead of an August 14th 2020 release.