Franklin's spirit is embodied by Grammy and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson. Franklin hand picked Hudson to play her and gave her blessing to the project before she sadly passed away in 2018. Hudson had this to say about her conversation with Franklin:
"She said 'you're gonna win an Oscar for playing me right?' and I was like 'well,' you know I was overwhelmed!"
"The film is called Respect but when people leave this film I want them to have a new found respect for Aretha."
Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis but called Detroit her home. She began singing at a young age and quickly became a success when she moved to New York and caught the eye of Columbia Records. In 1961, at the tender age of 19, Franklin's single "Won't Be Long" became a hit, and the rest is history. Franklin went on to pave the way for female musicians of color. Today, she is remembered as; the Queen of Soul and is considered to be one of the most influential artists of all time.
"Even if you didn't like gospel music, or wasn't someone who was into black people singing; You still could not deny that you were being touched by something when she sang."
That was Hudson's co-star Audra McDonald on Franklin's influence which extended to her other co-star Mary J Blige. The R&B singer said that she grew up listening to Aretha Franklin's music as her mother was a big fan of Franklin.
The film is almost entirely run by women, particularly women of color, with the director being Liesl Tommy who had this to say about Respect:
"A woman who has the greatest voice in the world, but who still doesn't know what her voice is. That was the story I felt like I wanted to tell."
Respect is in theaters now. Learn more about See Her here.