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Jennifer Hudson embodies Aretha Franklin in first ‘Respect’ teaser

A teaser poster from the Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect,” starring Jennifer Hudson.
A teaser poster from the Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect,” starring Jennifer Hudson.
(MGM)

All Jennifer Hudson is asking for is a little respect — and she just might get it, judging by the first teaser of her forthcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, “Respect.”

In a 44-second clip released Friday, the Oscar-winning actress, who starred in “Dreamgirls” and this week’s much-maligned “Cats,” steps onto the stage as Franklin and belts out powerful bars from the music icon’s career-defining hit, “Respect.”

Hudson is gilded in a glittering sequin gown and wears her hair in a short coif reminiscent of Franklin’s early days. She commands the microphone as the transcendent star, rebounding quite nicely from her other life as Grizabella the Glamour Cat.

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The inimitable Franklin, who died in August 2018 at the age 76, hand-picked the the “American Idol” alum to portray her in the long-gestating MGM feature film. Hudson performed “Amazing Grace” at Franklin’s funeral.

The new film is helmed by stage director Liesl Tommy and follows Franklin’s journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova. The director has promised it will be “rife with struggle and triumph.”

Tommy tweeted Friday that she’s “half way through shooting this baby” and can’t wait for fans to see it when she’s done.

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Franklin’s legacy has become something of a pop-culture touchstone since her death: “Amazing Grace,” a long-lost concert documentary, was released to much fanfare earlier this year, and National Geographic has slated its “Genius: Aretha” miniseries starring “Harriet” star Cynthia Erivo for May.

“Respect” is due in theaters this summer. Along with Hudson, it stars Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan and Mary J. Blige.


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