‘Respect’s Jennifer Hudson On Portraying The Queen Of Soul And Honoring “How Universal She Is, And The Impact She’s Made”

‘Respect’s Jennifer Hudson On Portraying The Queen Of Soul And Honoring “How Universal She Is, And The Impact She’s Made”
Doing justice to a real-life person, as an actor, comes with its own set of pressures. Embodying a cultural icon, however, can be downright overwhelming. When Aretha Franklin personally gave Jennifer Hudson her blessing to portray her in the biopic Respect, the Oscar winner was elated by the vote of confidence. Then reality set in. “Those are huge, huge, huge shoes to fill,” Hudson says. “But if she said I can do this, I’m going to do my best.” Ultimately, the challenges of stepping into Franklin’s rich, complex legacy had a deeply beneficial effect on Hudson: “It inspired me to want to own my voice that much more.”

Deadline: To portray a real-life icon over the course of a lifetime must feel like a huge task. What are the challenges in that?

Jennifer Hudson: Well, first of all, when you consider what she represents to us all—and,
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