Aretha Franklin hand-picked Jennifer Hudson to play her in bio-pic 'Respect'

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES -- In the new movie "Respect," Jennifer Hudson takes on the monumental role of the late, great Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. "Respect" tells the story of Franklin's life...from childhood and young motherhood...to struggling singer and eventual superstar. Her road to becoming a music icon was paved with heartache, troubled times and a voice she knew had a place in this world. It was Aretha's wish that Jennifer play her on the big screen.

"Yes, yes, yes. And that's what it was all led by, each tear, each moment, each note, out of love and her encouragement to say, 'Jennifer, I want you to do this.' And that's how I was able to get through it, through this, this massive thing," said Hudson. "I needed to allow my emotion to come through to be able, you know, to tell the story."

"She did it with such control and grace and dedication," said Liesl Tommy, "Respect" director. "Jennifer's humanity, her discipline, her dedication to her craft is, you know, was just so inspiring. And I watched it unfold. And I knew that by the time we got to set, we would just be able to have fun."

Marlon Wayans plays Ted White, one of Hudson's husbands, who did mistreat her.

"He's fighting the fact that part of him is happy for her and another part is jealous," said Wayans. "He's happy for her freedom. But he wants to control. And so he's a damaged man. And damaged people damage people. He's the romantic lead, the Prince Charming and he's also the villain."

"Respect" is rated PG-13. It'll be available only in theaters on Friday.
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