The highly anticipated Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson, as the queen of soul, has found its director.
Liesl Tommy is the first Black woman to earn a Tony Award nomination for Best Director for the play, Eclipsed and is now slated to direct Respect for MGM.
Nashville creator Callie Khouri is writing the script.
Tommy has also worked in television as a director, her body of work includes AMC’s The Walking Dead, HBO’s Insecure and OWN’s Queen Sugar. She is also attached to direct the adaptation of Trevor Noah’s memoir, Born a Crime.
Respect tracks Franklin’s coming of age to icon status, with 20 No. 1 R&B hits, 18 Grammy Awards en route to becoming the first female to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“The story of Aretha Franklin’s journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova is rife with struggle and triumph, making her life one of the great American stories of all time. As a filmmaker, there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman’s fight for self-realization to visual life with the enormous talents of the soulful Jennifer Hudson, Callie Khouri, and our incredible producers.” – Liesl Tommy
“It is an absolute honor to be a part of bringing Ms. Franklin’s story to audiences who adore her around the world. She is one of the most iconic and talented artists of all time and what a dream come true it is to portray her extraordinary life on screen. I could not be more excited to be working alongside Liesl Tommy, a brilliant and thoughtful director, who is no doubt the perfect choice to lead the film,” – Jennifer Hudson
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Jamie Broadnax is the creator of the online publication and multimedia space for Black women called Black Girl Nerds. Jamie has appeared on MSNBC's The Melissa Harris-Perry Show and The Grio's Top 100. Her Twitter personality has been recognized by Shonda Rhimes as one of her favorites to follow. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association and executive producer of the Black Girl Nerds Podcast.