×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Liesl Tommy to Direct Aretha Franklin Biopic ‘Respect’

Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures is moving ahead on its Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect,” tapping stage director Liesl Tommy to direct.

MGM set the project in motion a year ago when it was announced that Jennifer Hudson — who won a supporting actor Oscar for “Dreamgirls” — had been personally selected for the role by Franklin. The singer, who died in August, won 17 Grammy Awards, starting with “Respect” in 1968 and “Chain of Fools” in 1969.

Hudson proved she had the pipes to portray the legendary artist earlier this year, when she performed a rousing, pitch-perfect medley of Franklin’s hits at Clive Davis’ Pre-Grammy Gala.

MGM also said that Callie Khouri, who wrote “Thelma & Louise” and is the creator of “Nashville,” would write the screenplay following the rise of Franklin’s career, from a child singing in her father’s church’s 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 film.

Tommy received six Tony Award nominations for “Eclipsed,” including best director. She is also on board to helm “Born A Crime,” Paramount Players’ adaptation of the autobiography by Trevor Noah, starring Lupita Nyong’o.

“The story of Aretha Franklin’s journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova is rife with struggle and triumph, making her life one of the great American stories of all time,” Tommy said. “As a filmmaker there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman’s fight for self-realization to visual life with the enormous talents of the soulful Jennifer Hudson, Callie Khouri, and our incredible producers.”

More Film

  • Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman Starring in

    Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman Starring in 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' for Netflix

    Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman will star in the movie adaptation of the play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” for Netflix. George C. Wolfe (“Lackawanna Blues”) will direct from a script by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, based on the award-winning play by August Wilson. Other cast include Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) and Michael Potts. Denzel [...]

  • Crazy Bitches

    Why the CASE Act Will Empower Creatives to Fight the Horrors of Piracy

    Our horror film, “Crazy Bitches,” was released on Valentine’s Day 2015. We invested in an online marketing campaign that resulted in two times the industry clickthrough rate and 2.6M social media impressions in the week leading up to the release. So, we had reason to expect a successful return. What we didn’t count on was [...]

  • Alamo Drafthouse LA

    Alamo Drafthouse to Open in Downtown Los Angeles in July

    The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain is planning to open its first Los Angeles location with a “soft launch” in early July in the city’s downtown. The Texas-based chain, which has 38 locations, specializes food and drink service with unique programming. It announced Wednesday that the Los Angeles site, located at the Bloc, would offer an [...]

  • Max Landis Dropped by Manager Following

    Max Landis Dropped by Manager Following Sexual Assault Allegations

    Max Landis has been dropped as a client by his manager, a day after sexual assault allegations emerged against the  screenwriter. “I do not represent Max Landis,” Britton Rizzio at Writ Large Management told Variety in a statement. Landis is facing allegations of sexual abuse and psychological manipulation from eight women who told their stories [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Another Round of Layoffs Hit Disney and 20th Century Fox Film Divisions (EXCLUSIVE)

    Another round of layoffs are going down for employees merged in Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, individuals with knowledge of the company told Variety. The Wednesday reduction is the smallest round the studio has enacted since formally acquiring the film and TV assets of 20th Century in March, with a few dozen employees being [...]

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Netflix Lands Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Tick, Tick... Boom!' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following a heated bidding war, Netflix has walked away with the rights to “Tick, Tick… Boom!” a musical adaptation to be directed by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Sources say Andrew Garfield is the top choice to star, though no deal is done. “Dear Evan Hansen” writer Steven Levenson adapting the script based on the original [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content