MGM has released the first teaser trailer for the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect online, giving us our first look at Oscar-winning actress and performer Jennifer Hudson in the lead role. The project has been in the works for years, with Franklin hand-selecting Hudson to play her before her death in 2016, and it looks pretty terrific. This is a cradle-to-grave biopic of sorts, as the story charts Franklin’s career from child singing in her father’s church choir to international superstardom—and charting the roadblocks she faced along the way.
Hudson, of course, first burst onto the scene as a contestant on American Idol and then made her feature film debut in the 2006 movie musical Dreamgirls, for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Franklin is the role of a lifetime, so it’ll be interesting to see if Hudson can repeat. Liesl Tommy makes her feature film directorial debut with the film, having become the first Black woman ever nominated for a Tony award for Best Direction of a Play in 2016 for Eclipsed. The screenplay was written by Tracey Scott Wilson, based on a story by Wilson and Callie Khouri.
Check out the Respect trailer below. The film is, right now, still scheduled for theatrical release this December. The star-studded cast includes Forest Whitaker as C.K. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Audra McDonald as Barbara Franklin, Tituss Burgess as Dr. James Cleveland, Marc Maron as Jerry Wexler, Kimberly Scott as Mama Franklin, Saycon Sengblah as Erma Franklin, Hailey Kilgore as Carolyn Franklin, Heather Headley as Clara Ward, Skye Dakota Turner as Young Aretha Franklin, Tate Donovan as John Hammond, and Mary J. Blige as Dina Washington.