There have been negotiations for years over who was going to play Aretha Franklin in a biopic of the Queen of Soul’s life. Aretha told Wendy Williams back in 2011 that she wanted Halle Berry to play her, but Halle didn’t feel like she had enough singing experience to tackle the part. That is true, but I think Halle is underselling herself and doesn’t realize she has the dramatic actings skills to really convey the hardest moments of Queen Aretha’s life. Like her fax fight with Dionne Warwick.
It was rumored a couple of years ago that Jennifer Hudson was going to play Aretha, and that rumor became a fact over the weekend.
Deadline says Clive Davis used his pre-Grammy party to have JHud sing a few numbers and then announced that she would be playing the Queen of Soul. Jennifer apparently sang “Respect” and “Think.” Clive said that Aretha hand-picked JHud to play her. The actress pool was said to be limited since only a select few have the vocal range to hit all of Queen Aretha’s notes and they weren’t looking for an actress to lip-synch.
Straight Outta Compton’s Scott Bernstein will produce the film, and Dreamgirls music producer Harvey Mason Jr. will do the music. The only lingering question is who is going to play Cissy Houston and get to portray her glorious back-up singing from The Late Show?! My choice is Grumpy Cat.
Here’s photos of JHud on the red carpet for Clive’s pre-party in the gallery below.