Forget You Too Halle: Reports Say Aretha Franklin NOW Wants Jennifer Hudson Or Audra McDonald To Play Her In Biopic

April 10, 2013  |

Remember all that time Aretha Franklin was saying she would want Halle Berry to play her in a biopic about the Queen of Soul’s life? Well, I’m sure you also remember that Berry declined, citing the fact the she can’t sing a lick (“If I could carry a tune, I’d consider it. Someone should tell Aretha that I can’t do her justice.”). Plus, there were many critics of Franklin’s choice who felt that the starlet and the icon looked absolutely nothing alike. So Franklin has moved on, and the diva has been very open about the biopic some thought wasn’t going to happen. According to Shadow and Act, she has a director (Taylor Hackford who did Ray), some actresses in line to play Clara Ward and the Famous Ward Singers (who inspired Franklin), and she even wants Denzel Washington to play her dad.

In an interview with Glamour late last year, she discussed why out of everyone in the world, she wanted Washington–despite the obvious fact that he can act his butt off:

“He [Taylor] mentioned Denzel first, and I was thinking of Billy Dee [Williams]. That’s who I was thinking of. And he mentioned Denzel, and I said ‘Hmm…’ And when I thought about Malcolm X, and what he did with that, I said, ‘Yes! He could do it. He could handle it. If he put a little more weight on and glasses, he could handle it.’”

But the most interesting new info is that now, Franklin is trying to figure out if she wants Broadway favorite (and Tony winner) and former Private Practice star Audra McDonald to play her, or Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson to take the reigns as the Queen of Soul in her biopic. In that same Glamour interview, she opened about why she liked both ladies:

“I went to see Audra in Porgy and Bess, and I was very impressed with her dramatic ability. She was terrific.”

And Jennifer had voice. Audra has voice. The question is whether or not Audra can cross over into soul. You know, she does Broadway magnificently. But can she get over into soul is the question.”

Another real question is whether or not McDonald would even want to play Franklin, considering that she would have huge shoes to fill. But in an interview with, she made it clear that if she were approached, it would be the opportunity of a lifetime. “It would be an honor to play her. Other than that we leave it to fate. Who knows.” Hudson hasn’t responded to the casting rumor, but we’re sure if asked, she wouldn’t turn it down either.

So it seems like this movie could be coming to the big screen sooner than we thought…

Question is, who should play Franklin? And what do you think about the possibility of Denzel acting as her father in the movie? Would he even say yes…?





Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • It HAS to be Jennifer Hudson. Audra is a beautiful singer and actress, but she would NOT do justice to Aretha’s songs. Jennifer is the natural choice.

  • Ms. Bee

    I’m not interested in seeing the movie at all if Jennifer’s the leading character. Give me Audra.

  • Ms. South

    I think Queen Latifah should get that, maybe even Toni Braxton.

  • Nina


    50,000 + Daily Active Members, 200 + Daily Blog Posts

    5,000 + Black White Dating Success Stories

    Have Been in online Black White dating business for over 10 years!

    I’d like to see Jennifer Hudson in the role because when I think of
    Aretha Franklin, I think of her music. Jennifer Hudson could make those
    old songs into hits all over again.

  • eestoomuch

    i say audra and denzel…but only if aretha tells the story about the (alleged) incest.

  • FromUR2UB

    Glad she got over that Halle delusion. That just seemed too far-fetched to me. I thought the same thing about Audra McDonald. Some people have voices for the theatre, and others for the radio. I can’t think of anyone who has successfully switched between the two and made the transition. I’d like to see Jennifer Hudson in the role because when I think of Aretha Franklin, I think of her music. Jennifer Hudson could make those old songs into hits all over again.

  • CoCo Lee

    I would love 2 see Audra!!!

  • DeepThinker

    Looks like Aretha is finally coming to her senses on this. Both women are good options.

  • Mia

    Audra! She’s brilliant and I’m sure she’d do the role justice. I do not need Jhud stinking up my screen with loud banshee singing, bad acting and inarticulate speaking.