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Jennifer Hudson talks being tapped by Aretha Franklin for ‘Respect’

Actress/Singer Jennifer Hudson attends the Los Angeles premiere of "Respect" in Westwood, California, August 8, 2021.   -  
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Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, simply known as the "Queen of Soul," tapped Jennifer Hudson to play her in her biopic, and now that "Respect" is about to hit theaters, Hudson is breathing a sigh of relief.

"I feel like I've been holding my breath for 15 years, OK? And it's different phases of it. Like it's exciting, but it gives me anxiety at the same time, like, 'Oh, god, what did I do? What's happening? Is she—will she be happy?' I don't know," said Hudson. "There's a lot of emotions, but I guess because it's personal to me, you know? So, it hits different for that reason."

The film follows the ups and downs of the legendary singer's life from her childhood to the recording of her critically acclaimed gospel album "Amazing Grace." It is the highest selling album of Franklin's stories career, and the highest -selling gospel album of all time. She was just 29 when she recorded the project.

Hudson says working on the film has inspired her to get back in the studio, and she's readying new music.

"I'm in the studio as we speak—believe it or not—in the middle of all of this, working on my next album," Hudson said with a big smile. "And a huge reason of that is because Aretha inspired me through this film. Like, it made me want to own my own musicianship that much more. So, yes, I'm working on music as we speak, and it's coming."

- At the premiere -

Jennifer Hudson, the Oscar-winning actress and singer, wowed at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday for the premiere of her new film, Respect, a biography of Aretha Franklin's life and career.

"She had a unique capacity to interpret her suffering for an audience of millions," screenwriter Tracey Scott Wilson recalls of the legendary singer:

"I think the word genius is turned around a lot sometimes, just sort of willy-nilly, and what I really wanted people to understand is why she was a true genius and how she became that, and what it is that she did that was so extraordinary. And I hope that comes through. She was able to take her own personal pain and sing all types of songs about it : songs of empowerment, sexy-romantic songs. She was always able to live her life through her music" she added.

Hudson was selected by the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, to play her in the biopic, and Hudson repays that act of faith by honoring the late singer’s towering legacy in Respect which hits U.S. theaters this Friday and U.K. theaters September 10.