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Online casting search begins for the biopic 'Respect': Who will play young Aretha Franklin?

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Jennifer Hudson honored the Queen of Soul at a luncheon honoring the 103rd class of Pulitzer Prize winners by closing out the show with a performance.
Wochit

Who’ll play the tween Aretha Franklin in the movie about her life starring Jennifer Hudson? The search is underway.

An online casting search is happening that could give a young, unknown performer the same big break that Hudson herself got from “American Idol.”

MGM is accepting auditions via the web for the role of the Queen of Soul in her early years for the film “Respect,” which is set to reach theaters next year.

The project is seeking an African-American girl to play Franklin from the age of 10 to 14, when she was a singing at her father’s church in Detroit and emerging as a musical child prodigy.

Candidates must sing for the audition, as the part requires someone who can sing gospel with a soaring soprano voice. And the ability to play the piano is a plus.

Jennifer Hudson surprises crowd: Hudson honors Aretha Franklin at 2019 Pulitzer Prize luncheon

Here’s the link with all the info: https://www.castittalent.com/Respect.

The clock is ticking on the film’s production schedule. Rehearsals are expected to start in September, with filming planned to launch in October.

“Respect” is based on the life story of Franklin, the iconic superstar who bridged the worlds of pop, gospel and soul with her musical genius and became a social and political icon with anthems like the song of the title.

Before her death in August 2018, Franklin personally selected Hudson to play her in a bio-pic. She also shared her thoughts on the movie with one of its producers, Harvey Mason Jr., a Grammy-nominated producer who has worked on songs for both Franklin and Hudson.

Hudson’s career has soared ever since she finished in seventh place on “American Idol” in 2004. She won the supporting actress Oscar for “Dreamgirls” in 2007.

Mason told the Detroit Free Press last August that he and Franklin had spent “countless hours” on the phone discussing aspects of the movie. Their conversations covered “what stories she felt were important and what really made her who she is.”

They also talked about which songs “really told her story” and should be included in the feature-length film.

Oscar winner Callie Khouri (“Thelma Louise”) and Tracey Scott Wilson (FX’s “The Americans”) will write the screenplay for “Respect.” The film will be directed by Liesl Tommy, a noted stage director who is also set to direct the film adaptation of Trevor Noah’s biography, “Born A Crime,” starring Lupita Nyong’o.

The film is scheduled to open Aug. 14, 2020.

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  • NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07:  Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775070620 ORIG FILE ID: 8714848381 of 46
  • Aretha Franklin performs on the Madison Central stage during the Detroit Music Weekend on Saturday, June 10, 2017 in Detroit. (Via OlyDrop)2 of 46
  • Aretha Franklin and her son Kecalf Cunningham stand under the newly unveiled street sign in front of the Music Hall in Detroit, June 8, 2017. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP) ORG XMIT: MIDTN1023 of 46
  • Aretha Franklin performs at the world premiere of Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives at Radio City Music Hall, during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: NYCS3034 of 46
  • epa06947727 (FILE) - A file picture dated 05 September 2011 shows US singer Aretha Franklin performing at a Labor Day event outside of the Renaissance center in Detroit, Michiganm USA (reissued 13 August 2018). Media reports on 13 August 2018 state Roger Friedman, a journalist and family friend, made a statement on his website Showbiz 411 on 13 August saying Aretha Franklin is seriously ill and surrounded by her relatives. Franklin was diagnosed with cancer in 2010.  EPA-EFE/JEFF KOWALSKY *** Local Caption *** 53313442 ORG XMIT: JAK345 of 46
  • Nov 24, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Recording artist Aretha Franklin before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-268546 ORIG FILE ID:  20161124_gma_af2_011.jpg6 of 46
  • FILE - In this June 7, 2015 file photo, Aretha Franklin sings during a memorial service for her father and brother, Rev. C.L. and Rev. Cecil Franklin, at New Bethel Baptist Church where they were ministers, in Detroit, Mich. A person close to Franklin said on Monday that the 76-year-old singer is ill. Franklin canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.  (Elizabeth Conley/The Detroit News via AP, File) ORG XMIT: MIDTN9017 of 46
  • WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 27: US President Barack Obama fist bumps with singer Aretha Franklin who sung during a farwell ceremony for Attorney General Eric Holder at the Justice Department February 27, 2015 in Washington, DC. The ceremony was held to unveil the Attorney Generals official portrait and commemorate his tenure before his expected departure from the department after more than six years of service. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)8 of 46
  • Aretha Franklin blows out the candles on her birthday cake accompanied by, from left to right, Attorney General Eric Holder, Tamron Hall and Clive Davis during Aretha's annual birthday bash at The Ritz Carlton on Sunday, March 22, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: NYCS1089 of 46
  • Aretha Franklin watches during an NBA basketball game between the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills, Mich., Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) ORG XMIT: MIPS11510 of 46
  • August 5, 2014; West Allis, WI, USA; Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, performs at the Wisconsin State Fair. Mandatory Credit: Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK ORIG FILE ID:  20180812_ajw_usa_051.jpg11 of 46
  • Singer Aretha Franklin, center, walks in a procession during Harvard University commencement ceremonies, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Cambridge, Mass. Franklin was presented with an honorary Doctor of Arts degree during the ceremony. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) ORG XMIT: o312 of 46
  • Aretha Franklin poses for a photograph with veteran producer Don Was, right and longtime friend and producer Kenny (Babyface) Edmonds during their first pre production meeting for her upcoming album at the Westin hotel in Southfield, MI on Thursday October 17, 2013. (Via OlyDrop)13 of 46
  • (FILES) In this file photo taken on October 16, 2011 (L-R) First Lady Michelle Obama, US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden watch as soul diva Aretha Franklin performs during the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC. - Aretha Franklin died at the age of 76 on August 8, 2018 at her home in Detroit according to her publicist. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_18C7RU14 of 46
  • Aretha Franklin belts out the National Anthem prior to the start of Game 3 of ALCS series  against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, October 11,  2011. JULIAN H. GONZALEZ/Detroit Free Press (Via OlyDrop)15 of 46
  • NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18:  Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett perform onstage during Tony Bennett's 85th Birthday Gala Benefit for Exploring the Arts at The Metropolitan Opera House on September 18, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)16 of 46
  • Aretha Franklin and Oprah Winfrey acknowledge fans during a star-studded double-taping of Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular, Tuesday, May 17, 2011, in Chicago. The Oprah Winfrey Show is ending its run May 25, after 25 years, and millions of her fans around the globe are waiting to see how she will close out a show that spawned a media empire. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)17 of 46
  • ORG XMIT: NY115 FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2011 file photo, Aretha Franklin smiles after the Detroit Pistons-Miami Heat NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich. Franklin, who says she's back at 150 percent, is planning to return to the stage in May for her first post-surgery performance. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)18 of 46
  • FILE - In this July 27, 2010 file photo, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, and Aretha Franklin perform at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. A person close to Franklin said on Monday that the 76-year-old singer is ill. Franklin canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) ORG XMIT: NYET92119 of 46
  • In this July 26, 2010 photo Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait in Philadelphia . (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)20 of 46
  • February 26, 2010; Detroit, MI, USA; Aretha Franklin hosts a high tea listening party at the Detroit Fish Market for her soon-to-be released CD, A Woman Falling Out of Love.  As the songs play her sister-in-law Earline Franklin of Detroit, left and friend Ali Woodson a former lead singer with the Temptations of Los Angeles get up to sing and clap and show their enthusiasm for the new CD. Mandatory Credit: Regina H. Boone/Detroit Free Press via USA TODAY NETWORK ORIG FILE ID:  20180812_ajw_usa_059.jpg21 of 46
  • epa06947725 (FILE) - A file picture dated 02 December 2009 shows US soul singer singer Aretha Franklin performing at the 77th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in New York City, New York, USA (reissued 13 August 2018). Media reports on 13 August 2018 state Roger Friedman, a journalist and family friend, made a statement on his website Showbiz 411 on 13 August saying Aretha Franklin is seriously ill and surrounded by her relatives. Franklin was diagnosed with cancer in 2010.  EPA-EFE/PETER FOLEY *** Local Caption *** 00000401952827 ORG XMIT: PFXO7122 of 46
  • November 2009; Detroit, MI, USA; Berry Gordy hugs Aretha Franklin while Jesse Jackson and a guest looks on at the Motown 50 Golden Gala Live it Again Weekend at the Marriott in the Renaissance Center in Detroit.   Mandatory Credit: Kimberly P. Mitchell /Detroit Free Press via USA TODAY NETWORK ORIG FILE ID:  20180812_ajw_usa_058.jpg23 of 46
  • NEW YORK - OCTOBER 30:  Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the 25th Anniversary Rock  Roll Hall of Fame Concert at Madison Square Garden on October 30, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 92486628 GTY ID: 0058782006.jpg24 of 46
  • Josh Groban, Susan Sarandon, Little Kim, Aretha Franklin and Cyndi Lauper gather on stage for the finale of the  'Mandela Day' Concert to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 91st birthday at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Saturday, July 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes) ORG XMIT: NYCS71025 of 46
  • ***RETRANSMISSION WITH ALTERNATIVE CROP***Aretha Franklin performs at the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.  (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds) ORG XMIT: CAPG23326 of 46
  • Soul music legend Aretha Franklin performs in the Blues Tent during the 2008 Memphis in May Beale St. Music Festival at Tom Lee Park on Sunday, May  4, 2008.   (AP Photo /The Commercial Appeal,Jim Weber).  MEMPHIS OUT. NO MAGS. NO SALES. NO INTERNET. ORG XMIT: TNMEM10127 of 46
  • 2/10/08 6:44:08 PM -- Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A  -- The 50th Annual Grammy Awards show at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. --  Aretha Franklin performs during the 50th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.  Photo by Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Staff  ORG XMIT: RH 33426 GRAMMY 2/9/2008  (Via OlyDrop)28 of 46
  • (FILES) In this file photo taken on August 27, 2007 Singer Aretha Franklin performs during a ceremony honoring the late African-American tennis player Althea Gibson at the US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. - Aretha Franklin died at the age of 76 on August 16, 2018 at her home in Detroit according to her publicist. (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP)DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_18C7RJ29 of 46
  • Performer Aretha Franklin snaps a photo of an academic procession before the University of Pennsylvania Commencement ceremony in Philadelphia, Monday, May 14, 2007. Franklin received honorary degree during the ceremony. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)  ORG XMIT: PAMR10730 of 46
  • Aretha Franklin sings the American national anthem 05 February 2006 at Ford Field prior to Super Bowl XL in Detroit, MI. The Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Seattle Seahawks.  AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES  (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: BOB02431 of 46
  • President Bush awards singer Aretha Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005, in Washington. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award given.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)32 of 46
  • 6/5/2005 -- New York, NY -- Aretha Franklin performs with host Hugh Jackman at the 59th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall. --  Photo by Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY staff (Via MerlinFTP Drop)33 of 46
  • (FILES) In this file photo taken on February 23, 1998 Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti (R) laughs along with singer Aretha Franklin (L) and the group Boyz II Men (rear) after accepting the eighth MusiCares Foundation Person of the Year award in New York. - Aretha Franklin died at the age of 76 on August 16, 2018 at her home in Detroit according to her publicist. (Photo by HENNY RAY ABRAMS / AFP)HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_18C7RH34 of 46
  • US actor Kirk Douglas (R) applauds singer Aretha Franklin at a reception for the Kennedy Center Honors on December 04, 1994 at the White House in Washington DC. The Kennedy Center Honors recognizes American performance artists who have made lifetime contributions to American culture. Person at left is unidentified. AFP PHOTO JOSHUA ROBERTS (Photo credit should read JOSHUA ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images)35 of 46
  • FILE - In this April 28, 1993 file photo, Aretha Franklin, foreground left, performs in the finale of Aretha Franklin: Duets, an AIDS benefit concert for the Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York, as singers Smokey Robinson, background from left, Gloria Estefan, Rod Stewart, Bonnie Raitt and actors Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro look on. A person close to Franklin said on Monday that the 76-year-old singer is ill. Franklin canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm, File) ORG XMIT: NYET90836 of 46
  • FILE - In this April 8, 1975 file photo, singer Aretha Franklin performs during the 47th Annual Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. A person close to Franklin said on Monday that the 76-year-old singer is ill. Franklin canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up. (AP Photo, File) ORG XMIT: NYET90437 of 46
  • ORG XMIT: MICO203 FILE - Singing great Aretha Franklin joins George Michael during his Faith World Tour in Auburn Hills, Mich., Aug. 30, 1988.  (AP Photo/Rob Kozloff, FILE)38 of 46
  • 1ORG XMIT: MICO202 FILE - In this Jan. 11, 1987 file photo, soul singers James Brown and Aretha Franklin sing during a Home Box Office taping at the Taboo night club in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rob Kozloff, FILE)39 of 46
  • Aretha Franklin speaks to reporters at a Music Hall news conference in March 1988. (Via OlyDrop)40 of 46
  • John Belushi, left, Aretha Franklin and Dan Aykroyd in a scene from the 1980 motion picture The Blues Brothers. CREDIT: Universal Pictures41 of 46
  • Singer Aretha Franklin poses with her Grammy Award at the 17th Annual Grammy Award presentation in New York on March 3, 1975. The award is for her performance in Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing. Franklin has won every Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance, Female since this category was created in 1968. (AP Photo)42 of 46
  • Soul singer Aretha Franklin is shown at a news conference on March 26, 1973. (AP Photo)43 of 46
  • This March 26, 1972 file photo shows the Rev. Jesse Jackson speaking to reporters at the Operation PUSH Soul Picnic in New York as Tom Todd, vice president of PUSH, from second left, Aretha Franklin and Louis Stokes. A person close to Franklin said on Monday that the 76-year-old singer is ill. Franklin canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up. (AP Photo/Jim Wells, File) ORG XMIT: NYET90144 of 46
  • Vocalist Aretha Franklin warbles a few notes into microphone in Jan. 28, 1972 photo. (AP Photo)45 of 46
  • The Rev. C. L. Franklin wilth his daughters Aretha and Carolyn. May 18, 1965 photo by Ed Haun/Detroit Free Press    (Via OlyDrop)46 of 46

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