MGM has set its Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” for an Aug. 14, 2020, release.
Stage director Liesl Tommy boarded the film earlier this year. The studio set the project in motion a year ago when it was announced that Jennifer Hudson, who won a supporting actress Oscar for “Dreamgirls,” had been personally selected for the role by Franklin.
Franklin, who died on Aug. 16 at the age of 76, won 17 Grammys, starting with “Respect” in 1968 and “Chain of Fools” in 1969.
Callie Khouri, who wrote “Thelma & Louise” and is the creator of “Nashville,” is writing the screenplay for “Respect,” following the rise of Franklin’s career — from a child singing in her father’s church choir to a superstar. Tradecraft’s Scott Bernstein, who produced “Straight Outta Compton,” and Harvey Mason Jr., who has written and produced songs for both Franklin and Hudson, are serving as producers on the movie. Tommy received six Tony Award nominations for “Eclipsed,” including best director.
“Respect” is the second pic set for release on Aug. 14, 2020, following an untitled film from Universal. Neon will debut the documentary “Amazing Grace” on April 5, which was shot in 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles during the recording of Franklin’s double-platinum album of the same name.