Jennifer Hudson, Oscar-winning ‘Aretha’ in Respect

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– LOCARNO, AUGUST 14 – Interpreting a legend of music like Aretha Franklin, with the responsibility also of having been chosen by the soul icon and activist on the front line for civil rights: this is the challenge, already won, according to critics’ judgments by Jennifer Hudson, who is one of the strong contenders at the 2022 Oscars with Respect, the biopic signed by filmmaker Liesl Tommy. After its US debut on August 13, the film arrives in various European countries and for the closure of the Locarno Film Festival in Piazza Grande. The result of a preparation work supervised for a long time by Franklin herself, and with the approval of the family, Respect, which will arrive in Italy on October 7 with Eagle Pictures, despite having aroused perplexity for the very linear staging and being respectful to the limits of hagiography, is based on the magnetic performance of Jennifer Hudson, born in 1981, already an Oscar winner as a supporting actress in 2007 for the adaptation of the musical Dreamgirls.

With her a masterful cast, led by Forest Whitaker and Audra McDonald in the roles of Aretha’s father and mother; Mary J.

Blige in that of soul diva Dinah Washington, a family friend; Marlon Wayans as singer Ted White’s first husband, Marc Maron for the record company that brought Aretha Franklin to success, Jerry Wexler.

Jennifer Hudson had met Aretha Franklin over a decade before the Respect project was born: “We met in New York and one of the first things she said to me was’ You’re going to win another Oscar, playing me, right? – she told Entertainment Weekly, the actress who met the singer several times between 2016 and 2018 in the preparation phase of the film. In the years when Aretha Franklin started, “women were often treated like children. On the other hand, being like Aretha, able to build her own path, without having bosses, was something totally new. I often repeat that men love to destroy what they cannot conquer and it is something that Mama Franklin taught me “. .