Black Woman Director Tapped To Helm Aretha Franklin Biopic

January 11, 2019  |  

Taping Of 'Queen Sugar After-Show'

Source: Jason LaVeris / Getty

You know we have to handle our legends with care. So often times, when we learn about a new documentary being produced and released, we have to proceed with caution. Who is going to be telling the story? In the case of Aretha Franklin, it seems that her legacy may be in the right hands.

In addition to Jennifer Hudson taking on the titular role of Franklin, Variety, recently reported that Liesl Tommy, a Black woman, will helm the project as the director of the movie about the Queen of Soul, Respect.

According to The Root, Tommy has a background in stage directing, working with Danai Gurira for the Broadway play she wrote Eclipsed. The play, which starred Lupita Nyong’o earned Tommy a Tony nomination. In other realms, she’s directed episodes of “Insecure,” and “Dietland”

Callie Khouri, the screenwriter for Thelma & Louise and Mad Money will write the script for this project.

Scott Bernstein, who produced Straight Outta Compton will produce this film as well.

Though Franklin said, for years, that she wanted Halle Berry to portray her, despite her inability to sing, eventually she personally picked Jennifer Hudson for the role.

About this new project, Tommy said, “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.”

Tommy also shared her excitement about the job via Twitter.

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