Aretha Franklin fights to find her voice in new Respect trailer
"When I dove into the things we don’t know about her, what came to me is that this should really be a story of a young woman with the greatest voice in the world fighting to find her own voice," director Liesl Tommy says.
On Wednesday, the new trailer for Respect hit the internet and reveals the plot of the film focuses on the Queen of Soul's struggle to find her own voice throughout her singing career. It was a choice director Liesl Tommy made in her efforts to find the right part of Franklin's life that would have the biggest impact on audiences.
"When I dove into the things we don't know about her, what came to me is that this should really be a story of a young woman with the greatest voice in the world fighting to find her own voice," Tommy says. "She was a great musician but she had to go on a journey to become that brilliant musician. That journey is a journey to self, and that to me felt like the most profound investigation into her legacy."
Hudson was handpicked by Franklin (who died in 2018) to play the iconic singer in Respect, but the actress reveals that it was "definitely a process" that took almost 20 years to come to fruition (extended by another seven months due to COVID). "We originally sat down ... right after I won my Oscar for Dreamgirls, we met in New York and we had a talk about it," Hudson says. "There was no script at the time, but she wanted to meet with me, and we stayed in contact after that. It was when I was on Broadway when she called me and said, 'I've made my decision and it is you, young lady, who I want to play me. But don't you tell a soul.' And I was like, 'Yes ma'am, I won't!'"
In addition to starring as Franklin, Hudson also serves as executive producer on the film, her first time stepping into that role. "I just sit back and think about how much of a blueprint that she's been in my life and in my career," Hudson says. "This is something very personal and dear to me. I wanted to make sure I was a part of it as much as I could be, in every way."
Respect premieres in theaters Aug. 13.
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