Jennifer Hudson has been so focused on her thriving music career that many forget she is an Oscar-winning actress. The Dreamgirls star is reportedly set to return to the big screen as the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, in a highly anticipated biopic.
The Jasmine Brand reports Hudson has been locked down to portray the legendary songstress after a slew of names were thrown in the ring. Franklin herself initially wanted to be portrayed by another Academy Award winner, Halle Berry.
Berry humbly refused the offer, saying she wouldn’t be able to do Franklin justice in the singing department, according to Entertainment Weekly. Still, Franklin persisted, sending a telegram to The Wendy Williams Show in 2011, which the host read on-air.
“I would’ve liked Halle Berry to portray the older Aretha in the upcoming biopic of my life based on my memoir, Aretha: From These Roots. She was my first choice, everything’s subject to negotiation, and she shouldn’t underestimate her own talent. There are a number of other leading ladies out there that can definitely handle the role. I never expected Halle to sing. She’s an actress, not a singer. Many actors have portrayed vocalists by lip-syncing to the artists’ original recordings,” Franklin wrote.
Seven years later, Hudson has secured the long-talked-about role. MGM has reportedly acquired the project and will finance.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.