The Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul has found its director and screenwriter.
Stage director Liesl Tommy will helm “Respect,” the long-gestating MGM feature film about the late icon’s life and music, and Oscar winner Callie Khouri will pen the screenplay, according to a Thursday statement from Jonathan Glickman, the president of Motion Picture Group.
Tommy directed an exceptionally vivid production of Danai Gurira’s 2016 play, “Eclipsed.” The landmark drama earned six Tony Award nominations, including for best director, making Tommy the first black woman to earn a nod in that category.
Her repertoire, which includes “Hamlet,” “Les MisÚrables” and the Disneyland Resort’s “Frozen Live” show, aims to reimagine classics with racially diverse casts.
Tommy also shared her eagerness to work with “the enormous talents” of Oscar winners Hudson and Khouri.
Hudson was personally handpicked by Franklin, who died in August at age 76, to portray her on the big screen, and her starring role was announced early last year. She also performed “Amazing Grace” at Franklin’s funeral.
-Tribune News Service