Aretha Franklin was working on a movie about her life before her passing, and producer Harvey Mason, Jr. said he saw her as recently as last week. Even then, Mason noted that Franklin “gave him no sign she was dying,” according to TMZ. It appears that the “Queen of Soul” was super involved during the pre-production of the film, and worked together with Mason for hours.
It will be up to actress Jennifer Hudson now to carry Aretha’s legacy. Hudson was picked by Aretha Franklin to play the soul singer in the upcoming biopic, and many believe that Jennifer is one of the few artists out there that has the vocal range and acting capabilities to pull it off.
The film’s producer will be Scott Bernstein, while Harvey Mason, Jr. will be the music producer, according to Deadline. Mason is familiar with Hudson, given that he also produced music for the movie Dreamgirls, in which she had previously starred in 2006. Dreamgirls was Hudson’s big-screen debut and turned out to be a huge hit, making over $100 million in domestic box office receipts according to Box Office Mojo.
Hudson posted a note to Instagram in homage to the late soul singer.
“I have no words, so I will let the Queen say it! But I will Say while teaching me about your life, u taught me so much about life and schooled me in mine. I will never forget those teachings.”
Hudson has also been applauded by record exec Clive Davis.
“[Hudson’s] voice is truly incredible. When they ask, ‘Where’s the next Aretha? Where will the next Aretha come from?’ I say, ‘It’s her,'” Davis said. After it was announced that Hudson would play Franklin, Jennifer responded by saying she was “humbled.”
Davis has also posted an Instagram tribute to Aretha Franklin with a throwback picture from back in the day, as detailed by Entertainment Tonight.
“She was more than the queen of Soul. She was a national treasure to be cherished by every generation throughout the world,” he said.
The biopic has also made headlines today due to a shooting during an argument between two people about whether Halle Berry will portray Aretha in the film, according to Raw Story. The victim was rushed to the hospital for serious injuries.
While Halle Berry is not the one that will portray the late “Queen of Soul,” she was previously being considered for the role. Aretha Franklin was allegedly also pushing for her to be cast. However, Berry turned it down in 2011 citing her inability to sing, in addition to her lack of confidence that she could portray Franklin properly.
Seven years later, in January, 2018, Hudson was announced as the leading actress for the biopic.