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Aretha Franklin biopic "Respect" delayed again

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

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Aretha Franklin fans will have to wait longer -- again -- to get "Respect."

The upcoming biopic, with Jennifer Hudson playing the late Queen of Soul and onetime Bloomfield Hills resident, was initially pushed back from this past August to December and then to Jan. 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. birthday weekend). It's now been pushed back again, to Aug. 11, presumably due to continuing complications with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move takes "Respect" out of contention for the 93rd Annual Academy Awards on April 25, but it will be eligible the following year.

Filmed primarily in Atlanta, "Respect" also stars Forest Whitaker as Franklin's 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.

The National Geographic network is also working on a mini-series called "Genius: Aretha," though that's also been delayed by the pandemic. A career-spanning box set, "Aretha," will be released on Nov. 20.

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