Imagine you’re a gorgeous, talented woman with a thriving music career. You pick up the phone one day to hear that you have been chosen to portray Aretha Franklin, one of the greatest voices of a generation. You learn that not only were you selected, but you were hand-picked to portray the Queen of Soul by the Queen of Soul herself!! That’s reportedly how it went down for Jennifer Hudson, who is set to play the great Ms. Franklin in an upcoming biopic about her life and 6-decade long career. MGM is reportedly financing the film, but there is still a lot we do not know at this juncture. Release date, screenplay writer, and director are all still up in the air as it stands currently.
Back in 2014, Franklin said in an interview with Wendy Williams that she would love for Halle Berry to play her in a film about her life, but that the actress’ lack of musical background presented a major challenge. Then, Entertainment Weekly reported in 2015 that Franklin had already given her nod of approval for one singer/actress to portray her in this project. However, it wasn’t until this past weekend’s pre-Grammy party, hosted by Clive Davis, that the big reveal officially dropped. Hudson was scheduled to perform at the party, with a set list paying tribute to Franklin’s discography. Other big names attached to the project are producer Scott Bernstein (Straight Outta Compton) and music producer Harvey Mason (Pitch Perfect).
Hudson is known for her wide vocal range, and those signature strong, soulful pipes have been featured in other critically-acclaimed films like Dreamgirls, in which Hudson starred alongside Beyoncé in 2006, taking home an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Two amazing songstresses having a hand in this project definitely gives the pending Aretha Franklin biopic the potential to garner the success of films like Ray, for which Jamie Foxx won the Oscar for Best Actor in his moving portrayal of the late great Ray Charles. More details will be added as they are announced! Stay tuned!
– Courtney Quigley