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The Internet Reacts to Jennifer Hudson In the New Aretha Franklin Biopic Trailer

On December 20th, the teaser trailer for the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” was dropped for the first time. The 44-second clip shows Oscar-Winning actress Jennifer Hudson silhoutted in front of giant letters spelling out the word “Respect”. We then hear the legendary lyrics: “What you want, baby I got it. What you need, you know I got it” almost completely in A-Capella, save for a few background singers. 

With the lights finally highlighting her face, Hudson is transformed into the Queen of Soul, standing alone onstage wearing a sparkling gold dress  and a wig fashioned after Franklin’s signature 60s-era bouffant ‘do. Unfortunately, that is all the sneak-preveiw the trailer gives us into the upcoming movie before quickly cutting to black.

According to the video’s description, “Respect” is “the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice”. The description goes on to explain that the hotly-anticipated movie will follow “the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom”.

The trailer made waves upon its release and has racked up almost 5 million views on YouTube as of publication.

Hudson has already proved herself as a powerhouse actress and vocalist, winning over the hearts of America in the third season of American Idol. She then further impressed the world in her star turn as Effie White in 2006’s “Dreamgirls”. For that role, she earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.Recently, on “The Kelly Clarkson Show”Hudson shared her gratitude at being given the chance to step into the iconic Queen of Soul’s shoes for a short period of time. “My [audition] song for American Idol was ‘Share Your Love With Me’ by Aretha Franklin’. To flash forward fifteen years later where I’m playing Aretha…She’s an iconic figure that we all love and respect”.

The role is a boon for Hudson, who was hand-picked by Aretha Franklin before her death to play her in the upcoming movie. According to Hudson, Franklin made the final decision after seeing her perform in “The Color Purple” on Broadway in 201_. “We were in talks a long time about me playing her,” Hudson told People magazine earlier this month. “So I just hope I make her proud [and] do her justice.” 

The biopic has been in the works since at least 2010, when Franklin suggested that Halle Berry should play her in the movie.

The movie has been through many changes since then, cycling through many different potential cast members, directors, and producers. As of now, the movie is a star-studded affair that boasts a cast of household names like Forest Whitaker, Marlon Waynes, Audra McDonald, and Mary J. Blige. In addition, the movie has the distinct honor of being directed by a woman of color, “Jessica Jones” auteur Liesl Tommy. 

This movie has been long-awaited, as Franklin’s life was truly cinematic. Born in Memphis in 1942, Franklin was born to a father who was a pastor and a mother who was a professional pianist and a vocalist. Noticing her gift for singing, her father began managing her career at the age of 12 after she stunned her congregation with her show-stopping solos. By the time she was 21, she was already being crowned the “Queen of Soul” by her contemporaries. She is most famous for her chart-topping hits “Respect”, “Think”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, and “I Say a Little Prayer”. She died of pancreatic cancer on August 16th, 2018 at the age of 76.

In general, fans on the internet heartily approved of Hudson playing The Queen of Soul in her official movie.

For once, the internet didn’t immediately disapprove of the casting of an upcoming movie.

This Twitter user summed up the general reception of the trailer perfectly: 

Sometimes, the best gifts are the ones we didn’t even know we needed.

Of course, some people joked about the tendency for Hollywood to white-wash films that are based on true stories:

Based on the cast and the director, we’re pretty positive that this movie isn’t going to veer into problematic territory. 

Of course, there were whispers of another Oscar on the horizon for J-Hud

If there were ever a role Hudson was born to play, it’s this one. 

This person made a snarky joke about Hudson’s less-than-stellar recent track record with movie musicals.

In Hudson’s defense, no amount of raw talent and impressive vocals could’ve saved “Cats” from its critical and commercial declawing.

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