MGM has debuted the official Respect trailer and poster, which gives you a first look at Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson as 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, Respect is the remarkable true story of Aretha Franklin’s journey to find her voice.
Hudson, who was personally hand-picked by Franklin to play her in the film, is joined by a stellar cast of stars including Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy winner Forest Whitaker; Marlon Wayans; Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner Audra McDonald; Multiple Grammy-winning, and Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Mary J. Blige; Marc Maron; Emmy nominee Tituss Burgess; Tony nominee Saycon Sengbloh; Tony nominee Hailey Kilgore, Tate Donovan, and Skye Dakota Turner.
The first authorized feature film based on Franklin’s life, Respect is directed by Tony nominee Liesl Tommy (Broadway’s Eclipsed). Tommy is the first Black woman ever nominated for a Tony award for Best Direction of a Play in 2016 for Eclipsed, and is an Associate Artist at the Berkeley Rep and an Artist Trustee with the Sundance Institute’s Board of Trustees.
With a story by Callie Khouri (Oscar winner for Thelma & Louise) and Tracey Scott Wilson, the screenplay was written by Tracey Scott Wilson. Wilson and Tommy have worked together creatively since the 2009 play The Good Negro, written by Wilson and directed by Tommy at The Public Theatre. Wilson was a writer on FX’s The Americans which garnered her a Peabody Award as well as Emmy and WGA Award nominations.
The producers are Scott Bernstein (Straight Outta Compton) and multiple Grammy-nominated producer Harvey Mason Jr. (Dreamgirls), who has produced music for both Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Hudson.
The film will exclusively feature the iconic songs “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,” and “Young, Gifted and Black.” The film will also feature “Ain’t No Way,” “Precious Lord,” “There’s A Fountain Filled With Blood,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Chain of Fools.”
Franklin landed over 100 singles in the Billboard charts, including 17 Top 10 pop singles and 20 No. 1 R&B hits, 18 Grammy Awards, and was the first female to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her reinvention of Otis Redding’s “Respect” as a feminist anthem transformed her into an icon of the civil rights and women’s movements. Her cultural impact was felt throughout her career, from her singing at Dr. Martin Luther King’s memorial service to performing at three presidential inaugurations.
From MGM and BRON Creative, Respect will be released domestically via UA Releasing this December. The film will be distributed internationally via Universal Pictures International.
In case you missed it, you can still watch the previously-released teaser trailer below.