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'Respect' – Aug. 13 

Respect
"Respect" movie poster |

The upcoming biopic “Respect” will give viewers insight into the life of famous singer Aretha Franklin. Director Liesl Tommy says the film “begins with the church and ends with the church.” 

The movie shows how Franklin’s Christian faith, informed by her upbringing in a devout Christian home, remained with her throughout her rocky journey to becoming the queen of soul. 

Tommy, who's making her directorial feature film debut with “Respect,” shows how Franklin’s deep faith amid life's struggles was an attribute inherited from her father, who was a pastor during the civil rights era. 

Franklin's father, Clarence LaVaughn "C. L." Franklin, was a popular preacher at Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church. Her famous dad was often visited by civil rights icons, including Martin Luther King Jr., and used spirituality to bolster activism during that time. 

The Christian Post attended the filming of “Respect” at First Congregational Church in Atlanta, Georgia, where Grammy and Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson, who plays Franklin, gave a moving performance during a worship scene.

When asked how the faith elements of Franklin’s life impacted her personally, Tommy told CP that much had “manifested” through the making of the film.

“We definitely have moments, many moments where before we left the house, we just were like, 'OK, let's pray,’” Tommy told CP.  "I hadn't done that, to that degree, on any other project.

Tommy added that “Respect” led her to put more faith and trust in “God.” 

In a recent interview with CP, Hudson said her faith in God and upbringing in the church helped her connect with Franklin for the making of the movie.   

"I am a child of God, born in the church. It's so natural," the Oscar-winning actress said. "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. 

Before her death in 2018, Franklin had taken Hudson under her wing and offered advice to the young star. Playing Franklin in the film was an "honor," the “American Idol” alum said. 

Hudson told CP she had to draw from her Christian faith to help her prepare for such an iconic role.  

"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. “[Faith is] always the base for me. And obviously, I truly believe it was a base for her as well,” she added.

Actors starring in the film alongside Hudson include: Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Kimberly Scott, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Heather HeadleyDonovan, Mary J. Blige and more.

Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: jeannie.law@christianpost.com She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic

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