Jennifer Hudson opened up about one of her most challenging role to date … playing the legendary Aretha Franklin in the biopic Respect.
The Oscar-winning actress told HipHollywood naturally the pressure was on, but thankfully she had some advice from Franklin herself to carry her through.
“Just trusting my own self, my own voice, which is the underlining message of this film,” said Hudson. “Watching her come into her own voice and owning your treasure and who you are. She was really big on that, and then allowing your faith to continue to be the base, which was very important to me because I would’t have been able to make it throughout this film without that.”
As previously reported, the late Queen of Soul personally handpicked Hudson to play her.
“The biggest challenge in that was being able to conform to how women existed during that time,” she recounted. “I take up space in a room, and I’m very expressive and vocal. [But I had to remember], ‘I’m not Jennifer right now. I’m Aretha, in the ’60s, where women didn’t have a voice as much as we do today.”
The actress-singer, performs her own renditions of Franklin’s classics throughout the film. Surprisingly some of her favorites to sing were the jazz standards.
“I didn’t know she had eight albums before hits like “Never Loved A Man” and “Do Right Woman” and I’ve fallen in love with the standards. There’s treasures like “This Bitter Earth” and “Accentuate The Positive” and “Skylark” there’s a whole new element inside of her that I’m in love with now.”
Written by Tracey Scott Wilson and directed by Liesl Tommy, Respect follows the life of Aretha Franklin — who died in 2018 — from her childhood in Detroit to the gospel circuit to finding massive success in the 1960s and beyond, even as she struggled with personal “demons” and alcohol abuse. The film takes a hard look at Franklin’s battles in escaping the men who continually tried to control her, from her minister father (Forest Whitaker) to her abusive manager and first husband (Marlon Wayans).
Wayans also opened up about playing Ted White and tapping into his sexy side.
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