It’s been almost two years since the passing of legendary soul and gospel singer Aretha Franklin, but she’s been far from gone from our lives. Mere months after her passing, filmmakers were able to finally piece together Amazing Grace, the concert movie version of her best-selling gospel record. And Hollywood made sure to fast-track a splashy biopic, with Jennifer Hudson trying to match Franklin’s iconic pipes. And from the sound of the first teaser, it sounds like she’s gotten awfully close.
The film is called, of course, Respect, after one of her signature songs that doubles as a feminist anthem. We her Hudson’s dynamic version of it, the singer-turned-actress hitting the notes with about the same force as Franklin did in 1967. It was off her breakthrough album, and the teaser shows the younger singer, struggling to get noticed by the mainstream. We get glimpses of her first husband, Ted White, played by no less than Marlon Wayans. And we see her political side, with her at a meeting telling an African-American crowd, “You have to disturb the peace when you can’t get no peace.”
Those words speak to our current moment, just as Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods did mere weeks after the killing of George Floyd and the protests that have erupted both home and abroad and continue today. Alas, you’ll have to wait a long while to see Respect; it doesn’t come out till December 25. In the meantime, at least you can hear Hudson’s freakishly spot-on attempt to match someone who’s no doubt one of her idols.
You can watch the teaser in the video above.