×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jennifer Hudson to Play Aretha Franklin In Biopic

MGM has acquired rights to develop an Aretha Franklin biopic and signed Jennifer Hudson to portray Franklin in the  untitled project.

Scott Bernstein (“Straight Outta Compton”) and music producer Harvey Mason are attached as producers. Mason was a producer on the “Sing” and “Pitch Perfect 2” soundtracks.

The casting of Hudson — who won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress in “Dreamgirls” — was unveiled by Clive Davis at his Saturday night pre-Grammy party. He said that Franklin had personally selected Hudson for the role in the biopic.

The event included performances by Barry Manilow, Luis Fonsi, Ben Platt, Alicia Keys, Khalid and Logic. Hudson concluded the performance by delivering a medley of Franklin’s hits including “Think,” “Rock Steady,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman.”

Franklinhas won 17 Grammy Awards, starting with “Respect” in 1968 and “Chain of Fools” in 1969. She was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, who said of Franklin, “Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll — the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope”.

Hudson’s  credits include “Sex and the City” “The Secret Life of Bees” and Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq.” She can next be seen in “Monster”  alongside Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle and Timothy Blake Nelson. She also served as a season 13 coach on NBC’s “The Voice.” News about MGM coming on board was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Hailee SteinfeldTribeca TV Festival 2019 Presents

    Hailee Steinfeld Announces New Single Tied to Apple TV Plus' 'Dickinson'

    Actress, singer and producer Hailee Steinfeld is set to release a new single entitled “Afterlife” on Sept. 19, a track she created for her upcoming Apple TV Plus series,”Dickinson.” “This is a song I’m incredibly proud of, and I feel like after embodying this character, I have a more fearless approach to my writing,” Steinfeld [...]

  • Deadmau5 Captivates Opening Night Crowd by

    Concert Review: Deadmau5 Captivates Opening Night Crowd by Going Cube-ist

    “I’m not gonna lie: first shows [of a tour] usually suck,” deadpanned electronic music producer Joel Zimmerman, aka deadmau5, Thursday night, closing out the first night of his two-night stand in Dallas, the kickoff city of his North American “CubeV3” tour. “But this one actually was great.” The sold-out crowd at South Side Ballroom roared back [...]

  • John Mayer performs at Madison Square

    Concert Review: John Mayer Is a Wonderland at First of Two-Night Stand at the Forum

    “You’re allowed to ironically celebrate your past,” John Mayer told a sold-out crowd of nearly 18,000 on Friday night at the iconic Inglewood, Calif. venue The Forum. He was introducing what is arguably his breakout hit, the college dorm hookup anthem “Your Body is a Wonderland,” but the declaration could easily have applied to the [...]

  • Concert Review: Brian Wilson, Zombies Grandly

    Concert Review: Brian Wilson and Zombies Revive the Grand Chamber Pop of 1968 at Greek

    Even “teenage symphonies to God” reach their dotage. But if they’re lucky, or spectacularly good, they may join the company of less youthfully inclined symphonies and join some kind of canon that’ll outlive their creators. Fortunately, the Beach Boys’ peak late ’60s work and “Odessey and Oracle” have not outlived Brian Wilson and the Zombies, [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Gaby Hoffmann, Albert Cheng, Alexandra Billings,

    'Transparent' Team Reflects on Series Finale Without Jeffrey Tambor

    Friday night’s premiere of the series finale of “Transparent” at L.A. Live’s Regal theater felt like a family reunion for the Pfefferman clan. Matriarch Judith Light embraced each one of her TV children (Gaby Hoffman, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass) and guest stars from previous seasons (Cherry Jones, Melora Hardin, Bradley Whitford) who also turned [...]

  • Liam Gallagher: As It Was

    Film Review: 'Liam Gallagher: As It Was'

    Liam Gallagher is nearly as fascinating a rock ‘n’ roll figure as he thinks he is … which is saying a lot. After the breakup of Oasis, one of the most self-avowedly arrogant stars in pop culture found himself severely humbled, fighting to become relevant again without the help of Noel, his ex-bandmate and, for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content