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Aretha Franklin biopic bumped to January release

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Aretha Franklin fans will have to wait a bit longer to get their "Respect."

The upcoming Franklin biopic will now be released on Jan. 15, 2021, the Friday before Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday celebration. It had originally been targeted for a fall release, then December.

No reason was given for the switch, which was announced Wednesday, July 22. The film will still be eligible for the 93rd Academy Awards, which has been pushed back to April 25 to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Filmed primarily in Atlanta, "Respect" stars Jennifer Hudson as Franklin (with Skye Dakota Turner as a younger version of the singer), along with Forest Whitaker as her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Franklin's first husband, Ted White, and Marc Maron as producer Jerry Wexler. It's the the first feature directed by Liesl Tommy, the first black woman every nominated for a Tony Award for Best Direction. The screenplay was written by Tracey Scott Wilson from a story by Academy Award winner Callie Khouri and Tracey Scott Wilson.

Franklin was involved in the film up until her death on Aug. 16, 2018 at the age of 76. She had hand-picked Hudson to portray her early on in the process.

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