Jennifer Hudson to play Aretha Franklin in biopic

Jennifer Hudson is to play Aretha Franklin in a new biopic after the ‘Respect’ singer handpicked the actress herself.

Jennifer Hudson is to star as Aretha Franklin in a new biopic.

The ‘Respect’ singer is said to have chosen the ‘Dreamgirls’ star for the role herself.

Record executive Clive Davis made the announcement as he introduced Jennifer’s performance at a pre-Grammys party, according to Deadline.

The 36-year-old Oscar-winning actress and former ‘American Idol’ star then sang ‘Think’ and ‘Respect’ for the star-studded audience.

Billboard is premiering a clip of Hudson telling the tale of how “Remember Me” manifested in the studio and, more importantly, how she knew it was “meant to be.” The night before her studio session, the singer abruptly woke up from her sleep, thinking of a friend and how she felt an urge to tell that friend a certain message.

While she initially ignored the thought, the next day when she met up with a songwriter she never met before, that songwriter pulled up a hook that listeners now hear in the song.

A movie about Aretha’s life and work has been in development at MGM since 2011.

The 75-year-old Queen Of Soul’s music spans six decades, with her first record deal – a Gospel album – being released in 1956.

She has gone on to release a string of acclaimed hits, including ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’, ‘Spanish Harlem’ and ‘I Say A Little Prayer’.

The entire experience came full circle for Hudson, who originally attempted to fight her inner voice before hitting the studio the next day. She went on to say, “How crazy is it that I would have that night I had before…that something broke my sleep?”

Last year Aretha revealed plans to retire and move to Detroit to open a nightclub.

The ‘Respect’ hitmaker said: In my retirement plan, I’d like to have a small club here in Detroit.

“It would be Aretha’s!

“From time to time I would sing, and of course, I would have special artists come in to perform for the city that people in Detroit like – Detroit favourites.”

Aretha’s final album, a collaboration with Stevie Wonder, due for release later this year, following a 57-year career.

Last year the Queen of Soul was forced to pull out of several live shows due to unknown health issues. In 2010, she cancelled a series of concerts to undergo emergency abdominal surgery.

Jennifer won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for her role in ‘Dreamgirls’, playing Effie White, a character inspired by Supremes member Florence Ballard.

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