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Jennifer Hudson Talks Playing Aretha Franklin In New Biopic 'Respect': "It Still Feels Like She's In Me"

Jennifer Hudson On Playing Aretha Franklin In New Film Respect: "It Still Feels Like She's In Me"
July 3, 2020 - 06:08 / Hayley Paskevich

In this week's issue of People, Jennifer Hudson talked about playing Aretha Franklin in her new movie, Respect! Find out how she said the role has influenced her life! 

Jennifer Hudson has more R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Aretha Franklin after embodying the iconic singer for her latest movie role! 

As People shares, Hudson opened up in a new interview about how taking on the role of Franklin was an incredible experience that even caused her to learn a new skill!

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Jennifer Hudson at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada

Hudson reveals that playing Franklin got her "back in music school"

Hudson's history with Franklin goes back years! "Back in April 2003, I got to open up for her in Merrillville, Indiana, where she held a concert," she told People. "That was before Dreamgirls, before I ever dreamed of playing her one day. I've gotten to pay tribute to her many times since then, but every time is like the first time." 

Hudson recently paid tribute to Franklin at the BET Awards, when she performed Franklin's version of Nina Simone's protest song "Young, Gifted and Black" before debuting the trailer for RespectAnd as People mentions, Hudson also chose that moment to debut her piano playing!

"I started piano lessons," she revealed to People. "Aretha got me back in music school. It's still a process, but the film has made me more passionate about learning an instrument and expressing myself musically."

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Aretha Franklin performing at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John, New York City, 2017

Hudson says that she has a "newfound respect" for Aretha Franklin

Hudson was praised by the director of Respect, Liesl Tommy, for her talent and down-to-earth approach to the role of Aretha Franklin. "Jennifer may be one of the most talented people I've ever worked with," Tommy said.

"We were both so humbled by the task that we just agreed that there would be no ego in the process and that Aretha would be the diva in the room at all times, not us." Hudson shared that even though the film has wrapped, Franklin has left a profound impact on her.

"I still feel like she's in me, I really do," she told People. "I just hope to meet her requests. You think you respect Aretha, but once you see the film and you learn her story, you can't help but to have a newfound respect for her."

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