GRAMMY Award- winning Jennifer Hudson believes her faith and church upbringing allowed her to give everything to her latest role.
Starring as Aretha Franklin in the biopic, ‘Respect’, the movie and singing star said researching the role ‘felt like church’.
Released next month, ‘Respect’ tracks the life and career of Franklin, affectionately known as the ‘Queen’ of soul music.
For Jennifer, it is more than a musical connection being given the lead role in the MGM feature film.
She said: “I am a child of God, born in the church. It’s so natural. I feel like one of our closest connections is our faith — with having that background coming from the church, which I completely understood instantly.”
Before her death in 2018, Aretha had become a mentor to Jennifer, taking her under her wing and offering advice to the rising star, who has already become an Oscar-winning actress.
FAITH TO SUCCEED
However, despite having a personal connection with Aretha, it is her Christian faith Jennifer has drawn on the most in order to succeed in the role.
She added: “Even for myself, I was able to draw from that for the character and for myself to lead me through such a project.
“Faith is always the base for me, and obviously, I truly believe it was a base for her as well.
‘Respect’ aims to tell the true story of Franklin’s journey to find her voice.
The film begins “with the church and ends with the church,” director Liesl Tommy said of her premise for the movie, which, according to the film’s synopsis, follows “the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom.”
Both Tommy and Jennifer said they watched the documentary ‘Amazing Grace’ on Franklin’s life before shooting the film.
Jennifer added: “It felt like church to me, it helped me understand my church roots that much more.
“To be able to go back to that and see that and like, ‘Oh, wow, I grew up learning from that unconsciously at times. But to see where it came from, it felt like church.’”
Jennifer has long spoken of her faith and belief in God and says reading the Bible is a certain foundation of strength.
She said: “The Bible; I’ve been reading it since I was little and it hasn’t failed me yet.My faith is the ultimate help to me. We always said, ‘If he brings you to it, he will bring you through it.’
“My mother always told me no matter how negative your life seems to be, you must always look for a positive; that is what I believe a woman of faith should do.”