Jennifer Hudson performed a cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Young, Gifted And Black” at Sunday night’s BET Awards, paving the way for the first trailer for Respect, in which she plays the legendary songwriter.
Beginning with Franklin’s childhood lighting up her church choir, the biopic goes on to chronicle the singer’s years of struggle before hitting it big, both personally and professionally. Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Marc Maron, and Mary J. Blige co-star as a few of the key figures in Franklin’s life.
Watch the trailer, in which Hudson’s Franklin belts out the title track both onstage and in the rehearsal room, below.
Respect comes from a pair of theater veterans: Writer Tracey Scott Wilson is an acclaimed playwright who has also worked on The Americans and Fosse/Verdon, while Liesl Tommy is a Tony-nominated director with credits on Jessica Jones and Insecure. And, for as familiar as the structure of the film looks, the dynamism of their words and vision combined with Hudson’s ferocity bodes well for it.
It arrives sometime in December.