Jennifer Hudson says she received a special mandate from the Queen of Soul when she took on the role of Aretha Franklin in the new biographical film Respect.
In the film, which captures the life and career of Franklin, Hudson plays the singer as an adult. The movie focuses not only on Aretha’s struggles with her relationships, but also with the male-dominated music industry that often tried to control her. Hudson tells ABC Audio that Franklin wanted to make sure that she did her story justice.
“I remember our very first meeting, and [Franklin] said, ‘How are you going to portray me?’ And I said, ‘Well, however you would like to be portrayed,'” the singer says, laughing.
According to Hudson, Aretha wanted the Oscar winner to make her biopic be more than just about the drama.
“I think the biggest thing was just holding onto her roots — and my roots as well — which is her faith,” Hudson explains. “And that was key to me, and the most important thing throughout the entire film in portraying her.”
Respect, also starring Forest Whitaker and Marlon Wayans, is now in theaters.
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