As if the Grammys aren't full of enough surprises, record producer Clive Davis announced beforehand that Jennifer Hudson will portray Aretha Franklin in a biopic about the iconic singer's life. She was reportedly handpicked for the role by Franklin herself.
Davis dropped the news after Hudson sang a few of Franklin's hits during a performance at his pre-Grammy party on Saturday. Davis has worked extensively with both artists, producing or executive producing three of Hudson's albums and working with Franklin for decades. Franklin even led a tribute to Davis last April, saying, "What a wonderful, caring, caring humanitarian." So, it seemed natural for him to play a part in the upcoming film about the Queen of Soul.
The movie is backed by MGM Studios, with Straight Outta Compton‘s Scott Bernstein and music producer Harvey Mason producing. It's reportedly based on Franklin's 1999 memoir Aretha: From These Roots.
Although Franklin reportedly picked Hudson for the role, she previously wanted Halle Berry to play her on screen, even after the actress balked at the idea of her doing Franklin's singing voice justice. "She was my first choice," Franklin said in a statement to Wendy Williams, explaining that Berry could have lip-synced. However, she added, "There are a number of other leading ladies out there that can definitely handle the role."
Hudson, who's currently a judge on The Voice, has not yet publicly commented on the role. But with her singing career and vocal range, she's more equipped than most to play Franklin in the upcoming film — no lip-syncing necessary.
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