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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Catherine Zeta-Jones and daughter Carys fronting Fendi campaign

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Carys Douglas have been tapped to star in Fendi’s latest campaign.The Hollywood actress and her 16-year-old daughter, whom she shares with husband Michael Douglas, appear in a short film and still imagery as part of the latest …

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Carys Douglas have been tapped to star in Fendi’s latest campaign.

The Hollywood actress and her 16-year-old daughter, whom she shares with husband Michael Douglas, appear in a short film and still imagery as part of the latest instalment of #MeAndMyPeekaboo, promoting the launch of the new versions of the popular Peekaboo bag, which was first released by the Italian fashion house in 2008.

In the clip, which is set to Mary J. Blige’s song Family Affair, Catherine and Carys are seen showcasing the Peekaboo handbags while posing together in front of historical buildings in Rome.

“Catherine and Carys, mother and daughter, show their unique yet special family-bond celebrating the renovation of life by blending tradition and innovation and recalling the Fendi dualism and DNA,” a brand rep shared of the campaign. “Keeping their authentic daily rituals, they elegantly dance under the colonnade of Palazzo Altemps, a Roman historical building, and lovingly play among the statues of Palazzo Della Civilte Italiana, the Fendi HQ in Rome, nourishing the dialogue between classic and contemporary where the Fendi Peekaboo bag becomes the real protagonist.”

The duo shows off the regular and extra small versions of the Peekaboo bag in the video, as well as the distinctive Pequin design.

In April 2018, the first instalment of the #MeAndMyPeekaboo campaign was unveiled, with the pictures depicting Fendi creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi and her daughters Delfina Delettrez Fendi and Leonetta Luciano Fendi, while the second set was released that July, with the images starring Kim Kardashian, her six-year-old daughter North West, as well as the reality TV star’s mother Kris Jenner. The campaign also included portraits of actor Ewan McGregor’s daughters, Clara and Esther, as well as South Korea-based sisters Jessica and Krystal Jung.

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Mary J. Blige keeps make-up to a minimum when off-duty

Mary J. Blige no longer feels like she has to wear a full face of make-up every day.The R&B singer/ actress always pulls out all of the stops whenever she hits the red carpet, opting for perfectly coiffed tresses and glamorous gowns. However, Blige has…

Mary J. Blige no longer feels like she has to wear a full face of make-up every day.

The R&B singer/ actress always pulls out all of the stops whenever she hits the red carpet, opting for perfectly coiffed tresses and glamorous gowns.

However, Blige has now shared that she opts for a minimal beauty regime when off-duty.

“In my everyday life, I barely have anything on. I wear a lip, an eyeliner, and I kind of darken my eyebrows, but I don’t have any foundation on,” she told Refinery29, adding that she will keep her look simple when doing interviews or events. “I tell my make-up artist, please don’t remake my face – just enhance what I have. I’m happy with what I have.”

Along with finding success with her 1990s albums What’s the 411? and My Life, Blige also built up a reputation for her boundary breaking make-up looks, such as the black lipstick she sported in the video for her 1996 single Not Gon’ Cry.

However, the Mudbound star is adamant she has long moved on from such dramatic statements.

“On the What’s the 411? album, I was hiding. You couldn’t see my eyes, and I had a hat on. I always wanted to wear dark lipstick or anything that hid me – glasses, a hood, whatever it was. I never believed in my own beauty,” the 48-year-old recalled. “Black lipstick was armour for me. Every time you’d see me, I had a lot of stuff on because I was hiding. I’m not hiding anymore.”

Most of the time, Blige opts for pink or nude lip colours, and has just collaborated with MAC Cosmetics on a limited-edition lipstick for the new Love Me collection.

“I love a nude lip because it’s just effortless and it doesn’t fight with anything that’s going one,” she said in a statement announcing the partnership. “Even if you’re all glammed up, there’s something about a neutral lip that makes you look younger.”

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Lizzo turns heads in woodgrain-inspired outfit at 2019 BET Awards

Lizzo made a sartorial statement in a woodgrain-inspired number at the 2019 BET Awards on Sunday night.The Juice hitmaker posed up a storm as she made her entrance at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, with her quirky outfit from House of Holland tu…

Lizzo made a sartorial statement in a woodgrain-inspired number at the 2019 BET Awards on Sunday night.

The Juice hitmaker posed up a storm as she made her entrance at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, with her quirky outfit from House of Holland turning heads.

Lizzo, who also performed her hit song Truth Hurts during the ceremony, accessorised her look with matching hat and handpainted shoes, as well as a custom manicure by Eri Ishizu.

Taking to Instagram, the 31-year-old posted several snaps of her ensemble, and added the captions, “No I’m not a branch at all look baby I’m the whole damn tree! CUSTOM WOODGRAIN LEWK FOR THE @BETAWARDS,” and “Ooop! Did I give you a woody?”

A number of Lizzo’s celebrity pals were quick to praise her outfit, with actress Anna Faris writing, “Yeah!!” and Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness commenting, “Slay us to death queen dayum (sic),” alongside a string of heart eye emojis.

Other stars to pull out all of the stops for the 2019 BET Awards included Rihanna, who sported a full black leather outfit when presenting Mary J. Blige with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Ciara, who wore a tangerine Jean Paul Gaultier dress with dramatic sleeves. The Goodies star completed her look with Stuart Weitzman shoes and jewellery from Anita Ko.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta personality Eva Marcille showed off her growing baby bump in a flowing pink gown from Michael Costello, Karrueche Tran wowed in a bright yellow suit as she walked the blue carpet with American football player Victor Cruz, and Black-ish star Yara Shahidi opted for a striking Prabal Gurung look complete with silver sequin skirt.

La La Anthony rocked a gold minidress, Migos trio Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset looked dapper in pastel suits with harnesses, and Blac Chyna went for a bombshell vibe in a red dress and platinum blonde wig, while host Regina Hall looked stunning in a black dress with voluminous sleeves.

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Mary J. Blige teams with MAC Cosmetics on limited-edition Love Me lipstick

Mary J. Blige has partnered with MAC Cosmetics on a special lipstick colour.To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the R&B star’s 1994 album My Life and the same milestone for the beauty giant’s Viva Glam initiative, Blige has teamed with bosses at the b…

Mary J. Blige has partnered with MAC Cosmetics on a special lipstick colour.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the R&B star’s 1994 album My Life and the same milestone for the beauty giant’s Viva Glam initiative, Blige has teamed with bosses at the brand to unveil her very own limited-edition lipstick for the new Love Me collection.

Named French Silk, the pink-brown shade is universally flattering on all skin tones, and comes packaged in a rose gold and black bullet.

“I love a nude lip because it’s just effortless and it doesn’t fight with anything that’s going one,” she said in a statement. “Even if you’re all glammed up, there’s something about a neutral lip that makes you look younger.”

Infused with argan oil, a representative for MAC described the lip colour as having a “satin-soft finish and all-day moisture”. Priced at $19 (£15), Blige’s shade will launch in the U.S. and Canada on 23 June, while a further 24 Love Me lipstick shades are set to hit counters worldwide in the near future.

The singer-songwriter has had a long relationship with MAC, having appeared in imagery to support the Viva Glam campaign, which raises funds for those affected by HIV/AIDS, in 2000 with Lil’ Kim and in 2002 alongside Elton John and Shirley Manson.

“MAC and I have always had a supportive relationship, and we’ve both always been vocal about the issues and beliefs that we stand by, including our similar, steadfast positions on inclusivity, diversity and women’s empowerment,” the 48-year-old said.

“I chose to partner with Viva Glam because of its mission to bring awareness of HIV/AIDS in an altruistic way. This year marks a huge milestone of 25 years for both of us. For me, the 25th anniversary of My Life, and for MAC, the 25th anniversary of Viva Glam – so it was a great time to come together again.”

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Mary J. Blige turned stuntwoman for new superhero film

Mary J. Blige went all out for her new superhero film, The Umbrella Academy, and insisted on performing her own stunts. The No More Drama hitmaker plays villain Cha-Cha in the movie, which is adapted from a graphic novel co-created by former My Chemic…

Mary J. Blige went all out for her new superhero film, The Umbrella Academy, and insisted on performing her own stunts.

The No More Drama hitmaker plays villain Cha-Cha in the movie, which is adapted from a graphic novel co-created by former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, and she reveals she underwent five months of tough training to learn how to fight onscreen.

“We were in Toronto for five months,” she told U.S. breakfast show Good Morning America on Thursday (14Feb19). “The first day that I landed, I was amped to go and train in martial arts. So everyday we had to train for martial arts, then we had to train for fights, then we had to train to act and fight (at the same time)…

“I already knew how to shoot guns before I got there, because my girlfriend took me to the shooting range, so I already learned how to shoot an MP 40, which is the gun that Cha-Cha is supposed to use. Then I just said, ‘Let me learn everything else’, and I was prepared for the gun part when I got there, but the fighting was a lot of work.”

Blige enjoyed her stunt work, but admits it left her with some nasty cuts and bruises along the way.

“The stunt work was amazing,” she recently told Variety. “I was hanging from wires, for real. I was pulling glass out of my face. It was crazy.”

“We just did it,” she continued. “I said, ‘Look, don’t be afraid. Throw me, punch me, whatever! Do it. Just do it’. I’m strong like that. We were pretty sore and beaten up the next day.”

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Forest Whitaker cast in Netflix Christmas musical

Forest Whitaker is leaving his serious roles behind for Netflix’s new holiday musical Jingle Jangle.Known for his roles in The Last King of Scotland, which won him an Oscar, Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Black Panther, Forest is going in a different dire…

Forest Whitaker is leaving his serious roles behind for Netflix’s new holiday musical Jingle Jangle.

Known for his roles in The Last King of Scotland, which won him an Oscar, Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Black Panther, Forest is going in a different direction for his latest project.

The 57-year-old has been cast in David E. Talbert’s Christmas tale, about a cobblestone world that comes to life.

According to Deadline, he’ll play Jeronicus Jangle, a once-great inventor and toy maker who has lost his belief in himself and his inventions, but stumbles upon a second chance and a magical invention, when his granddaughter comes to town for the holidays. It’s slated for a 2020 release.

This isn’t the first time Forest has shown off his musical skills; in 2013 he starred in Black Nativity opposite musical heavyweights Jennifer Hudson and Mary J. Blige. He’s also displayed his impressive vocal abilities on TV show Empire.

Prior to his acting career, Forest studied singing at university, after changing his course – a football scholarship – following a back injury. He even toured England with the Cal Poly Chamber Singers.

Talking about his last foray into a musical, the star said it was intimidating to perform alongside his co-stars.

“Looking back, the last scene we did was the most daunting, with Jennifer, because she is such an amazing singer,” he told The Daily Star. “We had recorded it, so I knew I could just mouth it if I got too nervous. But they wanted to do it without the recording; they wanted it live, so that was a little more daunting. By that point, though, I was so into the character it worked out. I was so consumed by who he was and I was connecting to the audience in my church and my choir, so I was able to bypass that.”

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Lesley Manville: ‘It took long enough but Hollywood is becoming age-inclusive’

Lesley Manville thought it was brilliant that most of the 2018 Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominees were over 50 years old.The 62-year-old actress was nominated for her supporting role in Phantom Thread, but lost out to 58-year-old Allison Janney, fo…

Lesley Manville thought it was brilliant that most of the 2018 Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominees were over 50 years old.

The 62-year-old actress was nominated for her supporting role in Phantom Thread, but lost out to 58-year-old Allison Janney, for I, Tonya in March (18).

The pair were joined in the category by Laurie Metcalf, 62, Mary J. Blige, 47, and 45-year-old Octavia Spencer.

“I absolutely took note of it,” Lesley said to Fox News of their ages. “(And) isn’t that brilliant? I mean, there was only one of the nominees who was between 40 and 50. I think the rest of us were all over 50. Isn’t that great? That means there were five really good roles written for older women.

“I mean, it’s kind of annoying that it’s something we have to talk about because it should just be a given… (but) there has been a shift because it’s getting better. It’s taken an awful long time.”

As well as her film work, Lesley is also a regular on the small screen. She has been playing widow Cathy on series Mum for the last two years, with the British sitcom examining what it’s like for older women to get back into the dating scene.

And the actress is glad producers are finally showing older women in a sexual light.

“It’s vital because it’s a reality,” she stated. “There are a huge number of people who are single… and your heart and soul are the same. They’re what they’ve always been. It needs to be fed and nourished with love and companionship and shared humour with somebody.

“Those desires, if you have them, they don’t go away and it’s very, very good and positive to see a series that is about fairly ordinary people, especially (characters) Cathy and Michael (Peter Mullan) falling in love and negotiating love with the great histories of their lives that they’ve got behind them.”

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Jennifer Lawrence goes for gold as she leads Oscars glamour

Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o and Sandra Bullock took inspiration from the Oscars statuette itself as they donned glittering gold dresses for the awards ceremony on Sunday night (04Mar18).The Red Sparrow actress looked stunning in her sequinned Dio…

Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o and Sandra Bullock took inspiration from the Oscars statuette itself as they donned glittering gold dresses for the awards ceremony on Sunday night (04Mar18).

The Red Sparrow actress looked stunning in her sequinned Dior gown, which clung to her figure in all the right places, as she posed for photographers at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The 27-year-old teamed her dress, which featured a corset-style top and flowing bottom, with wavy hair and glamorous but simple make-up. She wasn’t the only famous face to have opted for gold for the ceremony, however. Black Panther star Lupita looked incredible in her Atelier Versace gown and joked on Twitter that the dress was made from Vibranium – a fictional metal found in the Marvel comic book series. “Vibranium by Versace. #Oscars #Wakanda Forever,” she tweeted. Lupita complemented her stunning dress with an unusual and eye-catching hairdo, which saw her locks braided around a gold thread, and was inspired by images of Amasunzu hairstyles traditional to Rwandan culture.

Sandra Bullock was another star who opted for a metallic ensemble, shining on the red carpet in a golden Louis Vuitton dress. She teamed the outfit with poker straight hair and heavy smoky eyes, which gave her look an elegant, rock chick finish.

Gal Gadot followed suit in an equally resplendent Givenchy dress, which she paired with an eye-catching Tiffany & Co. diamond necklace.

Compared to previous years, the fashion on this year’s Oscars red carpet was relatively understated. Elisabeth Moss, Allison Williams, Mira Sorvino and Gina Rodriguez tried their luck in pastel offerings, while Meryl Streep and Allison Janney, who won the supporting actress gong for her role in I, Tonya, looked strikingly similar in long-sleeved red numbers.

Jane Fonda, Laura Dern and Mary J. Blige were white hot on the red carpet, while accents of colour came from Ashley Judd, who looked incredible in a deep purple number, and Jennifer Garner, who turned heads in her breathtaking cobalt blue Atelier Versace gown, finished with a staggering $605,000 (£439,100) worth of jewels.

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