Aretha Franklin Biopic Is Back On

Director Taylor Hackford is on board, plus Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Audra McDonald or Jennifer Hudson could possibly star.

Posted: 10/03/2012 09:00 AM EDT
Aretha Franklin

When it comes to the highly discussed biopic on Aretha Franklin’s life, no Hollywood producer or director has been more vocal or quotable on the project than the Queen of Soul herself. After announcing the movie’s hiatus a few months back, the 70-year old music legend has confirmed updates on how her story will shape up on the silver screen.

In a Glamour.com article, Franklin says that director Taylor Hackford is now attached to the project and the Ray director is crafting the best vision of her life story.

“Oh, yeah. I’m in superb hands with Taylor Hackford. We are fine-tuning the treatment now. The treatment has four acts. He has finished all four,” Franklin told Glamour. “We’re now reworking some of it where it needs work: ‘A little more drama, tell me something else, what else happened here? We need a little more of this, a little more of that.’”

Along with her personal casting choices, Franklin says the Oscar nominated director is weighing in on which actors would be best for the project as well. The two initially had different ideas on who should play her dad, the Reverend C.L. Franklin.

“He [Taylor] mentioned Denzel [Washington] first, and I was thinking of Billy Dee [Williams]. That’s who I was thinking of,” says Franklin. “And he mentioned Denzel, and I said ‘Hmm...’ And when I thought about Malcolm X, and what he did with that, I said, ‘Yes! He could do it. He could handle it. If he put a little more weight on and glasses, he could handle it.’”

But finally, as for who will ultimately fill the regal starring role of the Queen of Soul, Franklin says she and Hackford have whittled their selections down to a trio of actresses.

“We have Jennifer Hudson, we have Halle Berry and Audra McDonald. That's the last three,” says Franklin. “I went to see Audra in Porgy and Bess, and I was very impressed with her dramatic ability. She was terrific.” But the Grammy legend admits to having reservations about one of her choices. “…Jennifer had voice. Audra has voice. The question is whether or not Audra can cross over into soul. You know, she does Broadway magnificently. But can she get over into soul is the question,” Franklin added.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame icon says she has only one ultimate goal for the movie version of her life story. “Accuracy. The facts,” says Franklin. “Let’s present the facts and be as creative as possible with them.”

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