Jennifer Hudson steps into the shoes of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin in a new trailer for the biopic Respect. The movie arrives on Aug. 18; you can watch the trailer below.

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The Grammy- and Oscar-winning Hudson didn't take the role lightly. "Let me say, you ain't just gonna wake up one day and think you're gonna be Aretha," she told Billboard. "Do not be fooled!" The singer said she concentrated on how best to honor Franklin's talent and not simply mimic it.

"It's like a balance - I feel it's more of her influence on me in it and my interpretation of it rather than trying to mimic Aretha," she explained. "There's only one Aretha. It focused me. 'Okay, am I supposed to sing this as me, Jennifer, or am I supposed to sing it like Aretha?' How about let it be the influence of her through me and how she's helped shape my artistry throughout the years."

According to Hudson, Franklin, who died in 2018, was quite specific about wanting Hudson to play her in a movie. "We met in New York and had a talk about it," Hudson said of a meeting the pair had in 2006. "There was no script at all. She wanted to meet with me."

A decade later, in 2016, Hudson was performing on Broadway in a production of The Color Purple when the Queen called with an official blessing. "She called me and said, 'I've made my decision and I want you to play me, but don't you tell a soul!' 'Yes ma'am, I won't."

Respect was originally slated for a fall 2020 release, but pandemic restrictions resulted in delays. "I'm actually quite emotional, after the COVID of it all, to finally be able to share this film with the public," said director Liesl Tommy. “It’s been years now of love and effort poured into it."

The new release schedule aligns with the reopening of movie theaters. "What better way to go back to the theaters than through the Queen of Soul?" Hudson said. "We can all come together. Your children love her. Your mom loves her, your grandparents ... . Take the family. It's something we've all been waiting for, including myself, not only to share with the world but for everyone to see. It's a perfect film and a perfect way to get back to the theater."

 

 

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