Aretha Franklin biopic Respect postponed until Christmas

The release of the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, has been postponed until December.The highly-anticipated movie is directed by Liesl Tommy and features a star-studded cast including Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayan…

The release of the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, has been postponed until December.

The highly-anticipated movie is directed by Liesl Tommy and features a star-studded cast including Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige, and Tituss Burgess.

It was announced on Thursday that bosses at MGM have decided to move the release date of the biopic from 9 October to a limited run starting on 25 December.

Respect will then expand on 8 January, ahead of a full release across the U.S. on 15 January, to kick off the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, according to Deadline.

The move is thought to have been done in order to improve Hudson’s chances of landing an Oscar nomination for her performance as the soul icon.

Hudson, who won an Academy Award for her performance in Dreamgirls back in 2007, was personally picked for the role in the musical biopic by Franklin before she passed away in 2018 at the age of 76.

The movie was due to be competing against Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie sequel Death on the Nile and Robert Zemeckis’ big-screen adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, The Witches.

However, release schedules for the year have been thrown into disarray due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has closed thousands of cinema chains across the world.

Movies including The Batman, Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid, and Mission: Impossible 7 have had production halted amid the global pandemic, and Joel Coen’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth has also been affected.

The drama, starring Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, and Brendan Gleeson, was set to begin filming in Los Angeles, but has been postponed as the city is on lockdown to stop the spread of the virus, according to the publication.

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Jennifer Hudson celebrates completion of Aretha Franklin biopic

Jennifer Hudson has completed production on her upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic.The Queen of Soul handpicked the Oscar winner to play her in the film before her death at the age of 76 in August 2018, and Jennifer took the role so seriously, she passed …

Jennifer Hudson has completed production on her upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic.

The Queen of Soul handpicked the Oscar winner to play her in the film before her death at the age of 76 in August 2018, and Jennifer took the role so seriously, she passed on a return to U.K. talent show The Voice so she could focus on her performance.

And before she took to the stage at Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game to perform a Kobe Bryant tribute, she confirmed reports that work on Respect had wrapped.

“It is officially a wrap on @respectmovie wrap it up, it’s done!” she wrote on Instagram. “Too overwhelmed to get into it right now but words can’t express how grateful I am to be chosen by the queen herself and to live out yet another dream! It was my honour to honour the Queen’s request!”

Hudson also posted a series of photos from the set of Respect, which is due to hit cinemas in October.

“I have to give credit where credit is due!” the 38-year-old captioned one shot of the cast and crew. “To every single cast and crew member who put your heart and soul into this project! It was beyond a joy and a pleasure to work side by side with each and every one of u! Lord knows if I could post every picture, I would but u know who u r (sic)!!

“From the director to the DP (director of photography), to hair and make-up, acting coach and extras too! To each and every driver and everyone in between! Much Respect to all of you!!!!”

Hudson will be hoping this film is better received than her last – the movie adaptation of stage musical Cats was one of last year’s biggest commercial and critical flops.

Directed by Liesl Tommy, Respect also features appearances from Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Mary J. Blige, and Queen Latifah.

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Jennifer Hudson ‘overwhelmed’ by pressure of Aretha Franklin role

Jennifer Hudson is feeling “overwhelmed” by the pressure to perfect her performance as Aretha Franklin in an upcoming biopic.The singer is stepping into the Queen of Soul’s shoes for the upcoming musical movie, Respect, and told As If Magazine she “cou…

Jennifer Hudson is feeling “overwhelmed” by the pressure to perfect her performance as Aretha Franklin in an upcoming biopic.

The singer is stepping into the Queen of Soul’s shoes for the upcoming musical movie, Respect, and told As If Magazine she “couldn’t be more humbled, intimidated and excited” by the honour of portraying the “iconic” diva.

“It’s a blessing, but scary at the same time. I go to sleep listening to Aretha, and I wake up listening to Aretha. I just want to do her justice and do the best job I possibly can,” she said. “To take on the lifespan of the career and legacy of this iconic figure is a huge responsibility. Even the way she spoke was so beautiful. I’m trying to pay as much homage to her as I possibly can.”

The former American Idol contestant was close with the Think hitmaker, and revealed the star gave her “pieces into her life” before her death at the age of 76 in August 2018.

“When people are that iconic it’s easy to forget they had a life and that they are more than just an entertainer,” the 38-year-old shared. “They are a person, they’re a sister, they’re a child, they’re a wife, they’re a friend… In our conversations she was teaching me more about life than her life.”

Respect, also starring Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige, Audra McDonald, and Tate Donovan, is expected to hit cinemas in October.

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Jennifer Hudson reading Aretha Franklin’s movie notes for new biopic

Jennifer Hudson is keen to follow every piece of advice left by Aretha Franklin regarding her planned movie biopic in order to honour the late legend’s memory.The Queen of Soul handpicked the Dreamgirls star to portray her in the long-gestating project…

Jennifer Hudson is keen to follow every piece of advice left by Aretha Franklin regarding her planned movie biopic in order to honour the late legend’s memory.

The Queen of Soul handpicked the Dreamgirls star to portray her in the long-gestating project before her death last year, and Hudson is eager to learn as much as possible about Franklin’s vision for the film, titled Respect, so she can make the singer proud from beyond the grave.

“Those are huge shoes to fill,” Hudson acknowledged of the tall task ahead of her. “I am just taking it one step at a time, one day at a time. All I want to do is pay tribute to her and meet her requests, you know? Like, ‘Aretha said do this?’ – ‘Yes, ma’am.'”

“We were in talks a long time about me playing her,” she continued on U.S. talk show Sunday Today. “So I just hope I make her proud (and) do her justice.”

Hudson isn’t the only singer/actress to bring Franklin back to life onscreen – Harriet star Cynthia Erivo will play the music icon in anthology series Genius: Aretha Franklin.

In October, Patti LaBelle revealed she was helping Hudson prepare for the role.

“She wanted to come to my house and go over my back-in-the-day moves when I was singing with Aretha, and all of the things from our back-in-the-day time (sic), so she wants me to help her with this movie by giving her some info,” she said on Watch What Happens Live.

And the veteran Lady Marmalade hitmaker has assured Franklin’s fans Hudson will do her late pal’s legacy justice, gushing, “That’s my baby girl. She’s phenomenal!”

Respect will be directed by Liesl Tommy and star Forest Whitaker, Mary J. Blige, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, and Tituss Burgess. It is expected to be released next summer.

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History-making stage director to take charge of Jennifer Hudson’s Aretha Franklin biopic

Theatre director Liesl Tommy and Nashville creator Callie Khouri are teaming up to bring Jennifer Hudson’s Aretha Franklin biopic to the big screen. MGM bosses have picked Tommy, the first black woman to earn a Tony Award nomination for Best Direction…

Theatre director Liesl Tommy and Nashville creator Callie Khouri are teaming up to bring Jennifer Hudson’s Aretha Franklin biopic to the big screen.

MGM bosses have picked Tommy, the first black woman to earn a Tony Award nomination for Best Direction of a Play, to take charge of Respect from Khouri’s script.

Aretha handpicked Jennifer to portray her in the film before her death last year (18).

Tommy, who picked up six Tony nominations for Eclipsed, has a busy period ahead of her – as well as picking up the Franklin story, she is also in the director’s chair for Born A Crime, the film adaptation of comedian Trevor Noah’s autobiography.

Tommy, who has also directed episodes The Walking Dead and Queen Sugar, says, “The story of Aretha Franklin’s journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova is rife with struggle and triumph, making her life one of the great American stories of all time.

“As a filmmaker, there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman’s fight for self-realisation to visual life with the enormous talents of the soulful Jennifer Hudson, Callie Khouri, and our incredible producers.”

Hudson, who has been attached to the project for 18 months, appears to be thrilled with the director hire, adding, “It is an absolute honour to be a part of bringing Ms. Franklin’s story to audiences who adore her around the world. She is one of the most iconic and talented artists of all time and what a dream come true it is to portray her extraordinary life on screen.

“I could not be more excited to be working alongside Liesl Tommy, a brilliant and thoughtful director, who is no doubt the perfect choice to lead the film.”

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Aretha Franklin gown sells for $10,000 at memorabilia auction

Over 30 items worn by the late Queen of Soul were on the block during the event held by Julien’s Auctions in New York City as part of the two-day Icons & Idols: Rock-N-Roll extravaganza at the Hard Rock Cafe Time Square this weekend (09-10Nov18).Accord…

Over 30 items worn by the late Queen of Soul were on the block during the event held by Julien’s Auctions in New York City as part of the two-day Icons & Idols: Rock-N-Roll extravaganza at the Hard Rock Cafe Time Square this weekend (09-10Nov18).

According to editors at the Detroit Free Press, a pink silk two-piece Bill Blass-designed gown worn by Aretha at the Duets concert AIDS benefit in 1993, sold for the large sum.

A black silk hat adorned with black feathers, black fishnet and white silk flowers, which the singer wore to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opening ceremony in 1995, was sold for $3,125 (£2,420). While a strapless white silk evening gown and a satin coat worn by the Respect hitmaker at the 1998 Grammys’ pre-party sold for $8,750 (£6,778).

The outfits were a last-minute addition to proceedings, but memorabilia dealer Martin Nolan was quick to include them after getting a call from Aretha’s inner circle.

“It was completely unexpected,” Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’ve had the dates for this auction set since last May, so once we received these items in early September, we really needed to scramble to get everything photographed and included in a way that felt like we were doing right by her.”

The auction featured more than 800 items from music’s biggest icons including Prince, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Madonna, with the proceeds going to the Prince’s Trust, which helps disadvantaged young people in the U.K.

The Freeway of Love hitmaker died aged 76 after losing a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

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Aretha Franklin dresses added to mega memorabilia auction

A red feathered gown once worn by late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin will be up for grabs in an upcoming Hollywood auction.Memorabilia dealer Martin Nolan had finalised most of the items of the Icons & Idols sale, which takes place on 9 and 10 November…

A red feathered gown once worn by late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin will be up for grabs in an upcoming Hollywood auction.

Memorabilia dealer Martin Nolan had finalised most of the items of the Icons & Idols sale, which takes place on 9 and 10 November (18), but a call from Aretha’s inner circle changed all that.

The caller, who owned clothing and accessories, including pieces that had been worn onstage at concerts and events, had promised not to part with the garments until after her death, so when Aretha passed away aged 76 in August, they were free to put them up for auction.

“It was completely unexpected,” Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’ve had the dates for this auction set since last May, so once we received these items in early September, we really needed to scramble to get everything photographed and included in a way that felt like we were doing right by her.”

Nolan, executive director and chief financial officer for L.A.-based auction house Julien’s Auctions, added: “This really is the Super Bowl of auctions, probably the most incredible collection we’ve ever put together for one event.”

The sale takes place at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square.

Respect singer Aretha was as well known for her opulent outfits as she was her powerful voice. A velvet gown with bejewelled cape worn by the soul star will also go under the hammer.

Other items include a white Collings 290 guitar that Prince played during a Ray Charles concert and a purple trench adorned with metallic detail worn by the late star, a pair of sunglasses John Lennon sported while filming the video for Penny Lane and clothing and jewellery owned by Elvis Presley.

There are multiple items from 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan too, including the cropped tuxedo jacket Madonna wore to play the title character and the oversized skull embossed hatbox carried by Madonna and Rosanna Arquette in the movie.

“After the film wrapped, I don’t think Sarah or Madge thought about the significance of these items, never thought of the monetary value they might someday attain – they just wanted them as keepsakes,” Nolan explained. “But with memorabilia like this hitting records, they decided it was time to let them go, either to a collector or to a museum where they may be enjoyed by many.”

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Jennifer Hudson has been preparing for Aretha Franklin biopic for over a decade

Jennifer Hudson waited 11 years to start work on the new Aretha Franklin biopic. The singer-turned-actress, who rose to fame as a finalist on American Idol in 2004 and won an Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls two years later, was reported to have offic…

Jennifer Hudson waited 11 years to start work on the new Aretha Franklin biopic.

The singer-turned-actress, who rose to fame as a finalist on American Idol in 2004 and won an Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls two years later, was reported to have officially entered talks to portray the Queen of Soul onscreen in 2015, but Jennifer reveals she actually met with Aretha years earlier, shortly after her Academy Awards win in 2006.

“We’d been actually talking about it (the biopic) for, like, 11 years,” she shared on morning show Live with Kelly and Ryan.

“A year after I won my Oscar, she had me meet her here in New York, and we talked about it, so now it’s actually manifesting and happening.”

Jennifer knows the project will be a “huge job”, and while she is nervous about the high-profile role, she is thrilled to have been personally approved by the late legend, who died in August (18).

“I’m terrified, to be honest, but I’m excited,” she gushed. “It’s such an honour to do that.”

It’s not yet known when the as-yet-untitled movie will go into production, but it is expected to centre on Franklin’s meteoric rise throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and detail her relationship ups and downs.

Jennifer was given the opportunity to show Aretha’s fans why she had been chosen for the biopic by the Queen of Soul herself as she joined the line-up of performers at the music icon’s funeral in Detroit, Michigan.

The 37 year old was asked by Aretha’s family to belt out Amazing Grace, and Jennifer was so touched by the request, although she confesses it was a “tough one to get through”.

“I don’t take it lightly…,” she explained. “I just wanted to honour her in the best way possible… and just continue her legacy as best as we all can, and she deserves that because people like Aretha Franklin have given us so much… It’s the least we can do.”

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Fashion world pays tribute to music icon Aretha Franklin

Fashion industry leaders have paid their respects to the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.The singing legend passed away on Thursday (16Aug18) at the age of 76 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. As well as stars from the world of music and…

Fashion industry leaders have paid their respects to the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

The singing legend passed away on Thursday (16Aug18) at the age of 76 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

As well as stars from the world of music and film paying their respects, the fashion industry is also morning the loss of the Think hitmaker, who was as well known for her opulent outfits as her powerful voice.

“RESPECT !!! REST IN PEACE AND POWER OUR TRUE QUEEN. IT WAS AN HONOUR TO HAVE MET YOU AND WORKED WITH YOU #QUEENOFSOUL #ROYALTY #BLACKEXCELLENCEATITSBEST #LEGEND WHEN WORDS ARE SLIENT MUSIC SPEAKS (sic),” Naomi Campbell posted on Instagram next to a black and white picture of a young Aretha.

Naomi starred in the video for Aretha’s 1991 version of Sly and the Family Stone’s Everyday People.

British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful told his followers he was heartbroken, while Marc Jacobs shared a recent photo of him and the soul singer with the caption: “Saying a great big prayer for you dear Aretha. #respect #queenofsoul #friend.”

Zac Posen also added a message next to an old portrait of Aretha.

“Loss of the legend. A continuous source of inspiration and strength. Sending my love and Condolences to all her loved ones and family. #ArethaFranklin #RIP,” he wrote.

Christian Siriano called the Chain of Fools singer, who won 20 Grammys, including three special accolades, over her career, a “true legend”, a sentiment Stella McCartney echoed in her own post.

And Tyra Banks eloquently expressed her sadness to her 5.8 million Instagram followers when she wrote: “Aretha the Queen. Legendary talent. Aretha Franklin epitomised that fierce black woman soul with just enough touch of pain in her vibrato, to make every human bow down to those precious vocals that only she could produce. May the heavens above shout with eternal pride, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!”

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Aretha Franklin’s biopic producer had no idea she was dying when they chatted last week

The producer of Aretha Franklin’s upcoming biopic has been left stunned by the singer’s death after meeting with her a week ago to discuss the project. Harvey Mason, Jr. tells TMZ the Queen of Soul gave him no indication she was dying when they chatte…

The producer of Aretha Franklin’s upcoming biopic has been left stunned by the singer’s death after meeting with her a week ago to discuss the project.

Harvey Mason, Jr. tells TMZ the Queen of Soul gave him no indication she was dying when they chatted just days before she lost her battle with pancreatic cancer on Thursday (16Aug18).

He claims the singer was upbeat and looking forward to getting back onstage after illness had forced her to scrap shows earlier this year.

“She was really looking forward to getting on the mic…,” he tells the outlet. “That was really her frame of mind when I spoke to her. We all knew she was under the weather… but she was very optimistic when I spoke to her.”

“She was very excited about the project, very optimistic,” Mason adds. “She was very involved.

“It’s a sad day today. We’re obviously at a loss but optimistic that her story will be told and we’ll honour her through this biopic.”

And Mason insists the film project, featuring Jennifer Hudson as Aretha, won’t be fast-tracked now the singer is dead.

“We’re not gonna try and rush this or speed this up,” the filmmaker assures fans. “We wanna do it with the utmost class. Aretha’s standards were so high we’re not gonna compromise that just to get the film out earlier.”

The film doesn’t yet have a release date.

Meanwhile, Hudson joined the fans taking time on Thursday to honour the late Queen of Soul, posting a clip of herself listening to Aretha sing a cover of The Beatles’ Let It Be.

“I have no words, so I will let the Queen say it!” Hudson wrote. “But I will say while teaching me about your life, u taught me so much about life and schooled me in mine. I will never forget those teachings #riparethafranklin.”

Franklin’s longtime friend and producer Clive Davis revealed earlier this year that Aretha had handpicked Hudson to play her in the new film.

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