Mary J. Blige, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans Join Aretha Biopic Cast
Some of Black Hollywood’s brightest stars have been recruited to tell Aretha Franklin’s story in her upcoming biopic, “Respect.” Alongside Jennifer Hudson, the cast will include Mary J. Blige, Marlon Wayans, Forest Whitaker and Audra McDonald, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
McDonald will play her mother while Whitaker will portray Franklin’s father,who was a renowned pastor in her hometown despite his womanizing ways. Wayans will star as Franklin’s first husband, Ted White, who became abusive after she married him at 19. Blige will play singer Dinah Washington.
The biopic will follow Franklin’s life from childhood through her rise to stardom.The film will obviously feature the title track “Respect” along with “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Chain of Fools,” “Ain’t No Way,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” “Amazing Grace, ” ” There’s A Fountain Filled With Blood,” “Spanish Harlem” and “Young, Gifted and Black.”
“I am thrilled with the incredibly talented cast we have assembled for our film, and I’m so proud that Ms. Franklin entrusted us to tell her story and to share it with the world,” the film’s director Liesl Tommy said in a statement.
“As a storyteller, hers is the kind of story we all dream of telling. Her music has inspired me since I was a little girl, and the milestones of her life and career have shown us all how to strive and thrive. To have this powerhouse group of actors — and the phenomenal talent of Jennifer Hudson in this iconic role — means we have the chance of making this film as transcendent as her glorious life and legacy.”