Jennifer Hudson is coming for that Oscar, so everyone might want to get the hell out of her way. The actress and singer can currently be seen in Tom Hooper’s nightmarish Cats, and while she’s probably not about to get an awards season nod for that, come next year, all bets are off. Because Hudson stars as the legendary Aretha Franklin in Respect. Not only is Hudson playing Franklin, she’s also singing Franklin’s songs, which is no easy feat. Watch the Respect teaser below.
It’s not easy to match the pipes of Aretha Franklin, but that’s not stopping Jennifer Hudson. As you can see and hear in the teaser above, Hudson does a fantastic job channeling Franklin’s singing style. This is the type of performance that makes Oscar voters go nuts. I mean, heck, if Rami Malek can win awards for playing Freddie Mercury while not even bothering to do his own singing, you can be damn sure voters are going to pay attention to Hudson here.
Respect follows “the rise of Aretha 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 the music icon’s journey to find her voice.” In addition to Hudson, the flick features Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Tate Donovan, Heather Headley, Skye Dakota Turner, and Mary J. Blige.
Liesl Tommy, who directed episodes of Mrs. Fletcher, The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones, Queen Sugar, and more, makes her feature directorial debut here, with a script from Tracey Scott Wilson The Americans. Look for Respect in theaters October 9, 2020. You can also check out the poster below.
Finally, a piece of release date news that’s not a depressing coronavirus-related delay. MGM is pushing the release date of the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, which stars Jennifer Hudson as the powerful-voiced singer, for Christmas Day, with the intention of propping it up as an awards season contender. The film was originally set to arrive in October.
Deadline reports that the “mind-blowing” dailies of Jennifer Hudson’s performance as Aretha Franklin in the upcoming biopic Respect have inspired MGM to move the film off its October 9 release date for a limited Christmas Day premiere. An expansion will follow on January 8, 2021, followed by a wide release on January 15, which is Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.
A Christmas release makes for prime awards season fare, with films like 1917 and Little Women garnering plenty of buzz during the holidays last year. While the fall is generally where awards season starts, crowd-pleasing films with awards potential are generally given the coveted holiday spot, like 2016’s Hidden Figures. It’s possible that MGM sees a prestigious crowdpleaser on their hands with Respect, with Hudson likely to earn another Oscar nod with her performance. Already the film has built buzz with a sparse teaser that showed only Hudson in a classic Aretha dress, belting out the chorus of her most famous song, “Respect.”
Respect, which is directed by Liesl Tommy and also stars Forest Whitaker as C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington, and Tituss Burgess as Rev. Dr. James Cleveland, is the only exclusive release on December 25 next to 20th Century Studios’ limited opening of The Duel which may move anyway since production has been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. MGM has been ahead of many studios with its shuffling of its release schedule, announcing a November release of the highly anticipated Bond flick No Time to Die early on during the coronavirus outbreak, while many major releases have been postponed indefinitely.