Film will focus on early years; now has a director and Halle Berry is still interested.
In the on-going news about Aretha Franklin’s biopic, the queen of soul is once again talking up the project and, of course, who she wants to portray her.
During an interview with Oakland County, Michigan’s Daily Tribune, the singer revealed what part of her life the film will cover. “It is going to be a chronological depiction of my advent from Detroit to New York,” Franklin explained, “as a young, aspiring singer, work out there with the choreographer Cholly Atkins, who later came to Motown. It's going to be pretty straight-up, some things that are known, and some things that are not known.”
When asked who will direct the project, Franklin perceivably dished that Taylor Hackford, who directed the film Ray, might possibly be given the task. “We do (know),” she said, “but I don't want to use his name until it's on the dotted line. I can tell you that he's had several blockbusters in the last five to maybe 10 years. Go back to the movie Ray.”
On the subject of which actress she wants to play her, the back-and-forth on getting Halle Berry has not ceased. Franklin explained: “I'm still thinking between several ladies, and then there is the director's book that we're going to go through. There's some people who don't have as big a name as other people, but they definitely have the fit and the ability to pull it off, so I'm going to look through that book with them. But my personal choice at this point is still Halle Berry, who I saw at the Oprah (Winfrey) event and told me, ‘Aretha, I want to play you. I didn't know that I wouldn't have to sing.’ I said, ‘No, no one ever expected you to sing, Halle. I never thought of you as a singer.’ ... A lot of movies come out where it’s the original artist and their songs are lip-sung to. That is what it would turn out if it’s Halle. If not, if for instance it’s Jennifer Hudson, she might sing one or two, but the rest would still be my original records. We’re definitely going to use the original records. I may re-record some things, too.”
But the ultimate question is, will the film get made and does it have financial backing, to which the singing legend said: “We are still hammering things out, all of the different financial aspects. We’re hammering those out at this point. It’s still moving, though, and we’re moving towards closing.”
Franklin is currently touring to promote her latest LP Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love.
(Photo: Aretha's Records)