Tony award-winner Liesl Tommy to direct Aretha Franklin biopic 'Respect'

Tommy is the first black woman to earn a Tony Award nomination for Best Direction of a Play.

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Tommy, who picked up six Tony nominations for 'Eclipsed', is also in the director's chair for 'Born A Crime', the film adaptation of Trevor Noah's autobiography.
LOS ANGELES: Theatre director Liesl Tommy and 'Nashville' creator Callie Khouri are teaming up to bring Jennifer Hudson's Aretha Franklin biopic to the big screen.

MGM officials have picked Tommy, the first black woman to earn a Tony Award nomination for Best Direction of a Play, to take charge of 'Respect' from Khouri's script, reports aceshowbiz.com.

Tommy, who picked up six Tony nominations for 'Eclipsed', has a busy period ahead of her. Apart from picking up the Franklin story, she is also in the director's chair for 'Born A Crime', the film adaptation of comedian Trevor Noah's autobiography.


She said: "The story of Aretha Franklin's journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova is rife with struggle and triumph, making her life one of the great American stories of all time."

"As a filmmaker, there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman's fight for self-realisation to visual life with the enormous talents of the soulful Jennifer Hudson, Callie Khouri, and our incredible producers."

Hudson, who has been attached to the project for 18 months, appears to be thrilled with the director hire, adding, "It is an absolute honour to be a part of bringing Ms. Franklin's story to audiences who adore her around the world. She is one of the most iconic and talented artists of all time and what a dream come true it is to portray her extraordinary life on-screen.

"I could not be more excited to be working alongside Liesl Tommy, a brilliant and thoughtful director, who is no doubt the perfect choice to lead the film."
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Aretha Franklin Laid To Rest; Stevie Wonder, Bill Clinton Pay Tribute
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Franklin's body arrived in a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse for the funeral.

Hundreds of pink Cadillacs filled the street outside the church, a reference to her 1980s hit 'Freeway of Love'.

Franklin's body arrived in a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse for the funeral. Hundreds of pink Cadillacs filled the street outside the church, a reference to her 1980s hit 'Freeway of Love'.

Former US President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton also paid tribute to the icon. Bill Clinton described himself as an Aretha Franklin "groupie", saying he had loved her since college. He traced her life's journey and praised her as someone who "lived with courage, not without fear, but overcoming her fears.

He remembered attending her last public performance, at Elton John's AIDS Foundation benefit in November in New York", when she looked "desperately ill'' but managed to greet him by standing and saying, "How you doing, baby?''

Her career, Clinton noted, spanned from vinyl records to cellphones. He even brought the mic near his phone and played a snippet of Franklin's classic 'Think'.

Two other former US Presidents Barack Obama, at whose inauguration in 2009 Franklin sang 'My Country, ’Tis of Thee', George W. Bush missed the service, but sent letters to be read out.

Former US President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton also paid tribute to the icon. Bill Clinton described himself as an Aretha Franklin "groupie", saying he had loved her since college. H..
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