This week Universal Pictures released the official trailer to RESPECT, the forthcoming biopic that pays homage to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Starring none other than Jennifer Hudson (the actress was personally endorsed by the Aretha Franklin to play the character before her death), the film’s first look appears to be as much about music as it is about fashion.
The film will follow Franklin’s rise to stardom from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to international acclaim. As expected (and perhaps so much better than first anticipated) the trailer throws a spectacular lens on ’50s and ’60s style. Think cinched-waists, a-line skirt, high neckline and glamorous embellishments. Very Dior-esque.
The stunning production will form as director Liesl Tommy’s feature film debut. Tommy was the first Black woman nominated for a Tony award for Best Direction of a Play in 2016. The cast also features Forest Whitaker as C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Audra McDonald as Barbara Franklin, Tituss Burgess asReverend Dr. James Cleveland, Marc Maron as Jerry Wexler, Kimberly Scott as Mama Franklin, Saycon Sengbloh as Erma Franklin, Hailey Kilgore asCarolyn Franklin, Heather Headley as Clara Ward, Skye Dakota Turner as Young Aretha Franklin, Tate Donovan as John Hammond, and Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington.
Speaking to Rolling Stone earlier this month, Hudson reflected on the role: “Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, we know her as this legend but there is a story to everyone. Her life had so much depth to it, and it came through the music.”
Like many Hollywood projects, RESPECT has been plagued by delays with the original release date in January. Now, the official release date has been set for August 13.
Cynthia Erivo recently played Franklin in National Geographic’s anthology series Genius: Aretha which is available to stream now.