Oscar award-winning actor Jennifer Hudson will star as Aretha Franklin in a biopic on the R&B soul singer financed by MGM, Deadline reported. Record producer Clive Davis had announced during his pre-Grammy party on Saturday that Franklin had selected Hudson for the role.
The untitled biopic has been in the works for several years and is expected to go into production soon. The Deadline report said MGM is yet to finalise a director and screenwriter for the film.
In a career spanning six decades, Franklin has won 18 Grammy awards, starting with the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance trophy for the 1968 song Respect, which became a feminist anthem. Franklin, now 75, is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the NAACP Hall of Fame, the Gospel music Hall of Fame and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2015. “Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll – the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope,” Obama had said about Franklin.
Hudson, who rose to fame as a finalist on the singing reality show American Idol in 2004, won the Academy award for Best Supporting Actress for her debut role in Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls (2006). Her most notable films include Sex and the City (2008), The Secret Life of Bees (2008), and Black Nativity (2013).