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.

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