Even before the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin died, there were talks about who would play her in a movie. We ended up getting a movie and a series starring two very different yet talented actresses, Cynthia Erivo and Jennifer Hudson. Hudson being the star of the film adaptation of the Queen’s life.
I watched Genius: Aretha, the National Geographic series about extraordinary people throughout history, and there are so many issues the series introduced that I must see in the film. Now, the family did call for a boycott of the series; however, my Googles showed me that most of the series seemed accurate. Honestly, I think the family was more angry about the fact that they, personally, were not included in the production of the series. The estate granted permission to National Geographic to do the series. All that said, I will say that it will be hard for me to not compare the two although Genius: Aretha focused more on Aretha and her genius itself.
But enough about the series. Let’s get into this trailer. I think the movie will center more on Aretha as a person and not as the famed recording artist. The series did a good job of never really showing too much of Aretha failing or down. I got the feeling, as I was watching, that the goal of the series was to show Franklin preserving despite all of what was going on around her. What I want to get from the movie is the complete opposite. I want to see the pain and stress, and not just behind closed doors.
You want to know what I’m most excited about? Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Aretha’s first husband who married her when she was 18 and he was 30. Yes, you read that right. A 12 year age difference. In the series, White was played by Malcolm Barrett, and for me, he just seemed annoying. He didn’t seen sinister or charming at all, which seems out of place for a man who at his best is a salesman. Needless to say, didn’t really like his rendition of what I thought I would see from White. He also helped produced a couple of Franklin’s songs, something we didn’t see in the series that I must see in the movie because there has to be a reason why she kept him around for so long. Dare I say, this could be an Oscar for Wayans and not Hudson. Marlon often jokes about a movie he and his older brother Keenan did way back when and how that movie is his ticket to an Oscar. I beg to differ. I’m riveted by his performance just by seeing it in the trailer. Imagine what he don’t see?
In the series, Courtney B. Vance plays her father. Here, we get Forest Whitaker. Vance played her father as more of a charmer but a tough parent. Whitaker seems to be playing him as a supportive, kind parent. Based on what I know about her father, I’m not going to buy that if that’s what they want to sell, but we’ll see. Of course, we’ll hear the timeless songs that we all know and love and probably get the backstory to how these classics were created, but the meat and potatoes of this movie will have to be the interworking of the Queen diva’s life.
Respect hits theaters August 13th!