Jennifer Hudson absolutely stunned playing Aretha Franklin in new biopic Respect – but she wasn’t always prepared to star as the music legend.
The Voice star was close friends with Franklin before her death in 2018, with the R.E.S.P.E.C.T hitmaker actually requesting that she play her.
Chatting to Metro.co.uk about the experience ahead of the film’s release, Jennifer revealed: ‘The thing I’m grateful for is that it wasn’t time to do it when that initial conversation was had because I don’t know if I would have been ready at that particular time.
‘I think I needed my own life story and life experiences, just life to happen, before doing such a thing.’
Admitting she was still slightly terrified to take on the role when the time came, the 39-year-old added: ‘I have never experienced more pressure in my life.
‘It’s the most exciting thing, but equally the most scary thing, because I’m a fan. And so I understand just how much she entrusted me with and what she represents to the world. So it’s like, “Oof! Okay!”‘
Jennifer recalled of their conversation: ‘She said, “Jennifer, I want you to portray me.”
‘So I said, “Yes Ma’am, I’m here and whatever I have to do to do that, I’m going to give it my all. Most of all, she always encouraged me to trust and use my own voice, which meant a lot to me, coming from her.
‘For me, that’s the takeaway, even from the film. It wasn’t until she owned her voice that we got our Queen of Soul. And so it’s encouraged me to want to do the same.’
Franklin began her music career at the age of 18, and went on to become one of the most influential musicians of all time.
Respect follows her life story, from a child singing with her mother to taking on the gospel circuit before signing her first record deal and starting her mission to produce a hit.
The film also stars Forest Whitaker (CL Franklin), Marlon Wayans (Ted White), Tituss Burgess (James Cleveland) and Mary J Blige (Dinah Washington).
Respect is released in cinemas on September 10.
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