Legendary singer Aretha Franklin has chosen singer and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson to play her in an upcoming biopic about the Queen of Soul. Franklin is unquestionably one of the greatest singers in history, the voice behind such classic 1960s R&B hits as "Respect," "Chain of Fools," "Think" and "(You Make Me Feel) A Natural Woman." The tunes are so iconic that they, along with many others, have turned up in more than a couple hundred films and television shows over the years, including The Big Chill, The Blues Brothers (which she also appeared in), Sex and the City and more recently, Scandal.
Few singers have equaled the raw power and emotion of Franklin's voice, and definitely among them is Hudson, whose big break came in the third season of Fox's American Idol in 2004, where she made the top seven in the finals before her shocking elimination from the competition. Getting knocked out of her bid to become the third American Idol signaled anything but defeat for Hudson, however, as two years later she starred in the pivotal role of Effie White opposite Beyonce, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Anika Noni Rose in director Bill Condon's big screen adaptation of the classic Broadway musical Dreamgirls, which earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
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Now, a dozen years after taking the Academy Awards by storm and selling millions of recordings worldwide, Hudson is about to star in another musical, but this time it's about the life of Franklin. According to Deadline, Franklin handpicked Hudson to play her in an upcoming biopic about the Queen of Soul, which will be produced by MGM. Famed music producer Clive Davis made the announcement of the casting at his annual pre-Grammy party Saturday night after introducing Hudson to sing a couple of songs at the event. Appropriately, Hudson performed Franklin's "Think," as well as her classic cover of Otis Redding's "Respect."
Deadline says MGM will be moving quickly to get a screenwriter and filmmaker for the Franklin biopic, which will produced by Scott Bernstein (Straight Outta Compton) and Harvey Mason Jr., who has previously collaborated with Franklin and produced the music for Dreamgirls.
No other details of the biopic were announced, but fans of the singers are sure to be thrilled with the film's gigantic first step in locking a star the caliber of Hudson as the Queen of Soul. Quite simply, Hudson is the only contemporary singer who can match the raw power and emotion of Franklin's vocals, which perhaps explains why it was important for Franklin to make the selection of singer-actress herself. Considering the lasting contributions Franklin has made to the history of music, the role commands R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and there's no question Hudson will give it all she's got.