Aretha Franklin bio-pic to feature all-star cast: Mary J. Blige, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald and more

Mary J. Blige, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Waynes

Aretha Franklin

The Aretha Franklin bio-pic, Respect is shaping up to be an all-star production, with big names in music and film signing up to add their talents to the project.

Liesl Tommy directing and Jennifer Hudson cast as Franklin. Scott Bernstein and Harvey Mason Jr. —who have collaborated with both Aretha Franklin and Hudson in the past— are producing the film.

Last week MGM confirmed Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald and Mary J. Blige have joined the project. Comedian and podcaster Marc Maron is also on board, as well as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s Tituss Burgess and MacGyver actor, Tate Donovan.

Whitaker will play Reverend CL Franklin, Aretha’s father who managed her early career, while McDonald has been cast as Aretha’s mother, Barbara Franklin. Blige will star as signer Dinah Washington. Franklin’s first husband, Ted White, will be played by Wayans.

Maron, Burgess, and Donovan will play Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler, the King of Gospel Reverend Dr. James Cleveland, and Columbia Records producer John Hammond respectively.

Production on Respect starts this November, with a planned release date of August 2020.

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