New York — The long-gesticulating Aretha Franklin biopic Respect is going ahead with stage director Liesl Tommy set to direct.
MGM announced on Thursday that Tommy will helm the film, which is set to star Jennifer Hudson. The Dreamgirls actress was cast as the late Queen of Soul in January 2018 after Franklin selected her for the role. At the time, Hudson performed a medley of Franklin's songs at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy bash.
Callie Khouri, who penned 1991's Thelma & Louise, will write the script.
The South African born director was nominated for a Tony Award for directing the 2016 Broadway production of Eclipsed starring Lupita Nyong'o.
She is also set to direct a film adaption of Trevor Noah's autobiography.
Ms. Aretha was my first musical obsession. She is everything. Thank God I have the team to do right by her. ?????????? @IAMJHUD @CallieKhouri @HarveyMasonjr @MGM_Studios #scottbernstein https://t.co/EcBqTcESqs— Liesl (@LieslTommy) January 10, 2019
Franklin died at the age of 76 in August 2018 from pancreatic cancer.