MGM‘s much touted Aretha Franklin biopic ‘Respect’ is coming together at a quite a pace.
As reported, Jennifer Hudson has been cast in the lead role as the legendary Queen of Soul.
Now, the movie’s director has been unveiled.
The studio announced today that award-winning Liesl Tommy has been appointed director of the hotly anticipated flick.
Set to go into production shortly, ‘Respect’ chronicles the life of Franklin (who died in August) – from singing as a child in her father’s church’s choir to becoming an iconic superstar and civil rights activist.
Critically acclaimed, Tommy is notable for being at the helm of theatre offerings such as ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Les Misérables.’ In the movie sphere, she recently signed on to direct ‘Born A Crime’ – a biopic based on Trevor Noah‘s book of the same name.
She’s also the first Black woman to be nominated for Best Director at the prestigious Tony Awards.
Speaking on the gig, Tommy said in a statement:
“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. 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.”
Hudson, who was handpicked by Franklin for the role, added:
“It is an absolute honor to be a part of bringing Ms. Franklin’s story to audiences who adore her around the world. She is one of the most iconic and talented artists of all time and what a dream come true it is to portray her extraordinary life on screen. I could not be more excited to be working alongside Liesl Tommy, a brilliant and thoughtful director, who is no doubt the perfect choice to lead the film.”
Musically, the project will also benefit from the talents of Grammy winning producer Harvey Mason Jr, who has worked with both Franklin and Hudson in the past. Meanwhile, ‘Nashville’ creator Callie Khouri has been tapped to write the script.