Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson will portray legendary singer Aretha Franklin, the long-reigning “Queen of Soul” in the new film Respect.
During an interview with The Christian Post, Hudson said being raised in the church and having a strong Christian faith was instrumental while making the movie.
“I am a child of God, born in the church,” she explained. “I feel like one of our closest connections is our faith — with having that background coming from the church, which I completely understood instantly,” Hudson said of Franklin.
In order to portray Franklin’s story to audiences, Hudson said she had to draw from her faith which serves as her foundation.
“Faith is always the base for me, and obviously, I truly believe it as a base for her as well,” Hudson noted. “Even for myself, I was able to draw from that for the character and for myself to lead me through such a project.”
Hudson said she watched the documentary Amazing Grace, which outlines the life and career of Franklin prior to filming Respect.
“It felt like church to me. It helped me understand my church roots that much more,” she explained. “To be able to go back to that and see that and like, ‘Oh, wow, I grew up learning from that unconsciously at times. But to see where it came from. It felt like church,” she said.
Additionally, Hudson learned how to play piano for the role, along with capturing Franklin’s mannerisms and demeanor.
“I just sit back and think about how of a blueprint she’s been in my life and career,” she concluded.
As CBN News reported, Franklin passed away on August 16, 2018, at the age of 76. She battled acute pancreatic cancer for years, which doctors say was the cause of her death.
She is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was also inducted into The Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Her father was a pastor at Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist Church. She credited her upbringing there, surrounded by gospel music, with teaching her the tools that would one day make her a soul music superstar.
Although she is known as the Queen of Soul, her gospel recordings were also smash hits. She won a Grammy for her 1972 gospel album “Amazing Grace.” It was recorded live at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in South Central Los Angeles and featured gospel great James Cleveland, her father, and rock star Mick Jagger along with other celebrities in the audience for the recording. It’s known as one of the best-selling gospel albums of all time.
She recorded another gospel album in 1987 titled “One Lord One Faith One Baptism.” It was also recorded live at her home church New Bethel Baptist.
“My faith always has been and always will be important to me,” Franklin once told reporters.