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Aretha Franklin biopic gets director and writer

"Respect," a movie about the life of Aretha

"Respect," a movie about the life of Aretha Franklin, is being made and Jennifer Hudson will star in it. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Dimitrios Kambouris

The Queen of Soul is about to get some R-E-S-P-E-C-T on the big screen. 

The long-gestating Aretha Franklin biopic "Respect" is going ahead with stage director Liesel Tommy set to direct.

MGM announced Thursday that Tommy will helm the film, which is to star Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. The "Dreamgirls" actress was cast as the R&B legend last January after Franklin selected her for the role. At the time, Hudson performed a medley of Franklin's songs at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Awards bash.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Callie Khouri, who penned 1991'sc  "Thelma & Louise," will write the script.

Tommy was nominated for a Tony Award for directing the 2016 Broadway production of "Eclipsed" starring Lupita Nyong'o. She is also set to direct a film adaptation of "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah's autobiography.

Franklin, who won 18 Granny Awards during a career that span more than six decades, died at the age of 76 in August from pancreatic cancer. Hudson is part of a starry lineup that includes Smokey Robinson, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, Celine Dion and Patti LaBelle, who will salute Franklin Sunday night in the concert "Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul" at  Shrine Auditorium ihn Los Angeles. CBS will televise the concert at 9 p.m. March 10. 


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