Respect: Aretha Franklin “more relevant than ever today” – Actus Ciné

The biopic “Respect”, centered on singer Aretha Franklin, is released in theaters this Wednesday. At the microphone of AlloCiné, the interpreter of the queen of soul and her director tell behind the scenes of this captivating biopic.

Respect: aretha franklin "more relevant than ever today" - actus ciné

An actress chosen by Aretha herself

Respect is an Aretha Franklin biopic on which the singer worked herself, to the point of finding the actress herself to embody her, as director Liesl Tommy recalls:

“Aretha Franklin introduced us to Jennifer [Hudson] telling us “it must be her”. And I’m glad she did, because Jennifer doesn’t just have a vocal talent, she has a nuanced and subtle acting style, and I loved working with her on this movie.

“It’s a difficult scenario, which demands a lot, very moving and sticking to the music [d’Aretha]. Jennifer was up for it, she got ready and once on set, was ready to experiment and have fun. “

And the preparation was not easy to be able to embody the queen of soul with naturalness: “First I learned the piano, I often forget to mention it, explains Jennifer Hudson. “But I also worked with a vocal coach, an actor coach to analyze her presence on stage, how she appropriated the space, she floated, she spoke little, so I had to unlearn how to be the one I am, which is quite the opposite, I take up a lot of space (laughs).

Respect: aretha franklin "more relevant than ever today" - actus ciné

2020 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved

Jennifer Hudon (Aretha Franklin) sings the songs herself

“I had to focus more on expressiveness and speak as little as possible. Women in her time did not have the same … space or the same opportunities (…)”.

A singer who inspired the team

“Aretha Franklin is a singer that I adore since childhood, says Tommy. “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t listen to his music. (…) Some people talk about the soundtrack of their life, it was definitely that to me.”

As for Jennifer Hudson, the movie was “a die [s]your dreams “ : “this is my tribute to [Aretha Franklin]. I am happy and honored to have been able to do so. Performing her sublime songs, learning even more about her, her heritage and her life, it was both very rewarding and inspiring. “

Indeed, on the screen, the songs are linked, and their presence is always justified by the situation that their interpreter is going through at this moment in his personal or professional life.

Aretha’s legacy

“She is more relevant than ever today, by the emotion with which she sings, which invites us to enjoy our life, our vulnerabilities and our strengths”, recalls the director. “Because she said in her songs: it’s normal to be fragile, to be head over heels in love, she glorified the fact of being human, quite simply.”

Respect: aretha franklin "more relevant than ever today" - actus ciné

2020 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved

Jennifer Hudson (left) and director Liesl Tommy

“But there is also a part of his life that is unrecognized and that we show in the film, it is his commitment, his passion for civil rights. Wherever we are in the world, there is a colonial heritage or something else, there is a problem with civil rights to resolve. (…) And this is an example since from childhood, he was taught equality and the principles of activism. , and she maintained them throughout her adult life. “

For Jennifer Hudson, it is the singer’s talent that will be kept above all by future generations, but not only:

Aretha is the greatest voice in the world. She is also a beautiful, powerful and impactful woman, as we know, and we love her. She should be celebrated, and I know her legacy will continue to inspire people as she has inspired them.

“Whatever you’re going through, keep having faith, keep your voice heard, because that’s how it is [qu’Aretha] became the queen of soul, when she managed to appropriate her gift, her voice, her life and her experiences. We have these gifts within us, then it is up to us to believe in them. “

Respect: aretha franklin "more relevant than ever today" - actus ciné

2020 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved

Jennifer Hudson (Aretha) and Forest Whitaker (CL Franklin, father of Aretha)

A song to end?

“My favorite song is Ain’t No Way, it’s beautiful, moving, passionate and it wasn’t planned in the movie, reveals Liesl Tommy. “But as Jennifer likes it too, I added it. (…) [La soeur d’Aretha] wrote this song for her, and the way she appears in the movie is my favorite scene. She shows their relationship and how Aretha gave opportunities to the women in her life. It’s an amazing song. “

“Respect” has been in theaters since Wednesday:

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