The Hollywood Reporter: Mary J Blige, Marlon Wayans Join Cast of Aretha Franklin Biopic 'Respect'

Mary J. Blige and Marlon Wayans are the latest to join the cast of Aretha Franklin's biopic called "Respect."  They join Forest Whitaker and Audra McDonald on the cast list. 

With the MGM production of "Respect" in full swing, Mary J. Blige and Marlon Wayans join Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, and Jennifer Hudson on the Aretha Franklin biopic. 

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, performing on-stage | Source: Getty Images/GlobalImagesUkraine

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, performing on-stage | Source: Getty Images/GlobalImagesUkraine

A Star-Studded Cast

While Jennifer Hudson will take on the role of the Queen of Soul herself, she will be supported by the likes of Broadway star Audra McDonald, two-time Oscar nominees Mary J. Blige, Broadway actors Saycon Sengbloh and Hailey Kilgore, Marc Maron, Tate Donavan, Tituss Burgess, and Skye Dakota Turner. 

The movie is set to be directed by Liesl Tommy, a Tony award winner known for her stage work. 

Remembering Aretha Franklin's Life

The biopic follows Franklin's rise to fame in the 1960s and 1970s, touching on her personal life and abusive marriage. 

Whitaker will be playing Franklin's father, a Baptist minister and a famous preacher who was unfaithful to his wife. Marlon Wayans will be playing her first husband, whom she married at 19-years-old and was abusive. 

The Supporting Roles

McDonald will play Franklin's mother, and Sengbloh and Kilgore will play her sisters, Erma and Carolyn, respectively. 

Blige will star as Dinah Washington, Burgess as Reverend Dr. James Cleveleand, and Maron as the legendary Atlantic Records music producer Jerry Wexler. 

Celebrating Aretha's Discography

The movie will feature Aretha's best songs, including  "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," "Spanish Harlem," "Young, Gifted and Black."

It will also feature  "Ain’t No Way;," "Precious Lord," "There’s a Fountain Filled With Blood," "Amazing Grace" and "Chain of Fools."

The Queen of Soul's Death

Aretha Franklin passed away at age 76 following her battle with cancer for several years. Her career spanned seven decades, and her difficult personal life led to her creating such legendary music that people continue to resonate with decades after. 

After her passing, people hope to preserve her legacy and her biopic is one of the ways they hope to do that. 

"Respect" hits theaters in Summer 2020. 

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