The upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, is being pushed back seven months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second time the film has been delayed.
The movie is now moving from Jan. 15, 2021 to Aug. 13, 2021. While the decision is mostly due to the ongoing pandemic, it is also part of a strategy to make sure the film has a prime release date closer to next year’s awards season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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Before her death in 2018, Franklin handpicked Hudson to portray her on the big screen.
The film also stars Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Marc Maron, Kimberly Scott, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Heather Headley, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan and Mary J. Blige.
Broadway veteran Liesl Tommy is making her feature directorial debut on the biopic.
MGM has released a series of trailers for Respect, which follows the rise of Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church choir to international superstardom.
Straight Outta Compton producer Scott Bernstein and music producer Harvey Mason Jr., who has written songs for Franklin and Hudson, produced the film.
National Geographic also has a limited television series in the works about the Queen of Soul, with Tony winner Cynthia Erivo in the lead role.
When asked about the competing project in an interview earlier this month, Hudson had this to say: “I know that Aretha was adamant that [her life] be a film. If it’s not a film, it’s nothing. I’m just honored that she picked me to play her.”