Jennifer Hudson to play Aretha Franklin in biopic

MGM has acquired rights to develop an Aretha Franklin biopic and signed Jennifer Hudson to portray Franklin in the  untitled project.

Scott Bernstein (“Straight Outta Compton”) and music producer Harvey Mason are attached as producers. Mason was a producer on the “Sing” and “Pitch Perfect 2” soundtracks.

The casting of Hudson — who won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress in “Dreamgirls” — was unveiled by Clive Davis at his Saturday night pre-Grammy party. He said that Franklin had personally selected Hudson for the role in the biopic.

The event included performances by Barry Manilow, Luis Fonsi, Ben Platt, Alicia Keys, Khalid and Logic. Hudson concluded the performance by delivering a medley of Franklin’s hits including “Think,” “Rock Steady,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman.”

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Aretha Franklin
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Aretha Franklin
THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW -- Aired 5/4/69 -- Pictured: Aretha Franklin (Photo by Fred A. Sabine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW -- Aired 5/4/69 -- Pictured: Aretha Franklin (Photo by Fred A. Sabine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - MARCH 1: Musicians Yoko Ono, John Lennon and Aretha Franklin attending 17th Annual Grammy Awards on March 1, 1975 at the Uris Theater in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW -- Aired 5/4/69 -- Pictured: Aretha Franklin (Photo by Fred A. Sabine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
CIRCA 1967: The 'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait with circa 1967. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1965: Soul singer Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait in circa 1965. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1964: Soul singer Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait circa 1964 in New York city, New York. (Photo by James Kriegsmann/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Aretha FRANKLIN; Posed portrait of Aretha Franklin, (Photo by RB/Redferns)
AUGUST 7: Soul singer Aretha Franklin records in the studio on August 7, 1968. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: HAMMERSMITH ODEON Photo of Aretha FRANKLIN, performing live onstage. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
American soul singer Aretha Franklin dancing for the cameras. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1968: Soul singer Aretha Franklin performs onstage in circa 1968. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 09: Soul singer Aretha Franklin sings in the Atlantic Records studio in during 'The Weight' recording sesssion on January 9, 1969 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1969: Soul singer Aretha Franklin performs onstage in circa 1969. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin performs on BBC TV show 'It's Lulu', London, August 1970. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: TOP OF THE POPS Photo of Aretha FRANKLIN (Photo by Ron Howard/Redferns)
NEW YORK CITY - MARCH 1: Musicians Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers and singer Aretha Franklin attend 17th Annual Grammy Awards on March 1, 1975 at the Uris Theater in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - MARCH 1: (L-R) Musicians Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Yoko Ono, John Lennon and Aretha Franklin attending 17th Annual Grammy Awards on March 1, 1975 at the Uris Theater in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
CIRCA 1973: Soul singer Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait lying on a couch in circa 1973. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin poses for a studio portrait in 1977 in the United States. (Photo by Gilles Petard/Redferns)
Singer Aretha Franklin performing. (Photo by David Mcgough/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 01: Aretha Franklin (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 01: Aretha Franklin (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Aretha Franklin during The 40th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arista Records Pre-GRAMMY Party at Beverly Hills Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige performing on the 'VH1 Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin' at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, 4/9/01. The show airs live on VH1 on Tuesday, April 11, 2001 at 9:00PM EST. Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect.
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Aretha Franklin performs onstage at BET Honors 2014 at Warner Theatre on February 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/BET/Getty Images for BET)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Aretha Franklin performs onstage at BET Honors 2014 at Warner Theatre on February 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/BET/Getty Images for BET)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Aretha Franklin speaks onstage at BET Honors 2014 at Warner Theatre on February 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/BET/Getty Images for BET)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Singer Aretha Franklin attends BET Honors 2014 at Warner Theatre on February 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paras Griffin/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: (L-R) Angelika Beene, singer Aretha Franklin, and pianist Robert Glasper attend the BET Honors 2014 red carpet presented by Lexus at Warner Theatre on February 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET)
AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 03: Singer Aretha Franklin performs in concert at ACL Live on September 3, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 14: Aretha Franklin performs at Radio City Music Hall on June 14, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A view of atmosphere at Aretha Franklin's 72nd Birthday Celebration on March 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: (L-R) Music executive Clive Davis, William Wilkerson, singer Aretha Franklin and actor Denzel Washington attend Aretha Franklin's 72nd Birthday Celebration at the Ritz Carlton on March 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)
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Franklinhas won 17 Grammy Awards, starting with “Respect” in 1968 and “Chain of Fools” in 1969. She was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, who said of Franklin, “Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll — the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope”.

Hudson’s  credits include “Sex and the City” “The Secret Life of Bees” and Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq.” She can next be seen in “Monster”  alongside Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle and Timothy Blake Nelson. She also served as a season 13 coach on NBC’s “The Voice.” News about MGM coming on board was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

6 PHOTOS
Jennifer Hudson
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Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer looks cool and casual in this low-key, all-black ensemble.
We are obsessed with this polka dotted look on the red carpet and can't get enough of those red pumps!
Kicking it up a notch, Jennifer looks great in this flared leather skirt (killer leather boots) and a short turtleneck. 
Va va voom! Jennifer looks absolutely stunning in this form-fitting dress at with plunging neckline.
All dolled up for the CFDA, Jennifer is showing off those toned legs and curvaceous body.
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