NEW YORK — Could Jennifer Hudson be the woman to play Aretha Franklin on the big screen?
As reported last year, a musical production, based on the life of the soul singer is already in the works with auditions set to happen this May in Detroit. Last night, however, Aretha revealed to Access Hollywood that she has already been approached by several studios who want to take her autobiography and put it on the big screen.
Aretha confirmed Jennifer Hudson was one name suggested for her role.
“Well, I don’t know. I’m not sure,” Franklin said of the proposal. “The producers want to know how I feel about it, about her playing myself. What I’d like to see is three different people playing myself.”
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While she remains undecided on whether one of those people would include Oscar winner Hudson, the Queen of R&B noted a handful of worthy candidates have already met with her seal of approval.
“There’s a young lady who opened the tribute [show] out in Los Angeles that the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) gave me who was very good, and I’ve heard another little girl who was quite good,” Franklin said. “Perhaps someone playing me from the age of 25 to about 40 and then someone else beyond that which is just a little bit.”
In fact, Franklin said the person or persons who play her might not need to have her vocal prowess.
“There may even be a little lip synching here and there,” she said. “We’ve gotta go with some of these records [I made throughout my career]. They were classics, and some of it, it will be verbal but not vocalized in its entirety.”
Franklin isn’t the only ’60s singer who may be played by more than one person on the big screen. Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere and Heath Ledger are among the actors set to play Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’ upcoming film “I’m Not There.”
Auditions for the musical theater version of Aretha’s story kick off May 1 in Detroit. Franklin said she will be involved in the casting process, choosing the performers who will play “key members” from her family and her close friends and associates including Sam Cooke and Diana Washington.
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