Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson has shared the details of her last conversation with her friend, the late Aretha Franklin. Hudson is set to star as Franklin in the upcoming biopic about the life of the legendary ‘Queen of Soul’.
Respect, directed by Liesl Tommy and written by Tracey Scott Wilson, is set for release next month.
The film had its world premiere yesterday at the Regency Village Theatre in the Los Angeles district of Westwood. At the event, Hudson gave an account of her last conversation with Aretha Franklin. The two became friends in the late 2000s and remained close, speaking to one another at least once a week until Franklin’s death in 2018.
Hudson told the Hollywood reporter: “The last time I heard her voice was August 8. It’s odd that here we are again, on August 8, three years later.” She went on to say: “Right after we spoke, they told me she was no longer competent enough to speak, but she sang to me on our call, and we talked about my son and his cooking. She loves to cook, and so does he. I sent her a video of him cooking. I truly miss hearing from her.”
As well as Hudson, Respect stars some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige, Marc Maron, Titus Burgess and Tate Donovan.
The film is expected to capture the soul and ineffable talent of the late Aretha Franklin, placing her music at the very centre of the action. Hudson’s role as Franklin has already been labelled one of the year’s stand-out performances, and will feature the Dream Girls actress performing versions of the soul icon’s biggest hits, including: ‘I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You)’ and, of course ‘Respect’.
The film will also explore Franklin’s life-long commitment to civil rights, from singing at Martin Luther King’s funeral to her vocal support of Angela Davis.
You can watch the Respect trailer below.