Mary J. Blige has officially joined the cast of Respect, the biopic on the late Aretha Franklin. According to Deadline, Blige will play the role of Dinah Washington, who was known as the Queen of Blues in the 1950s. The singer, songwriter, and actress will star alongside Jennifer Hudson, who landed the lead role as Franklin.
The biopic is set to follow the rise of Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, Deadline reports.
Blige’s role as Washington adds to the impressive film résumé that she has created for herself, which includes Academy Award nominations and three Golden Globe nominations.
Other notable actors to appear in the film include Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron, Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Tate Donovan, and a host of others.
Respect will be written by Tracey Scott Wilson, directed by Liesl Tommy, and distributed by MGM Studios. Filming for the biopic begins next month and the movie is projected to hit theaters on Aug. 14, 2020.
“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,” said Tommy, according to Deadline. “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.”
Production for the film has obtained exclusive rights to Franklin’s hits such as “Respect,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” and more.