Aretha Franklin "Passed the Torch" to Jennifer Hudson When She Handpicked Her For Respect

Jennifer Hudson knows just how high the expectations are for her portrayal of Aretha Franklin in the late singer's upcoming biopic, Respect. "That's a lot, a lot, a lot of pressure," the former American Idol star shared with Entertainment Tonight at the BET Awards on June 27. "Everyone is counting down and I'm like, 'Please don't tell me! I don't want to know, that's enough pressure.'" Prior to her death in August 2018, the legendary singer personally called Hudson to tell her that she had handpicked her for the role. "Enough with [Aretha] being like, 'Jennifer, do this.' But that's that women power, that's that empowerment, like if she passed the torch and she said, 'Jennifer, you can do it,' that gave me the strength and the encouragement to try," she added.

Respect, which premieres on Aug. 13, is a longtime passion project of Hudson's. "It's such a personal passion project for me . . . so it's a bit of everything. I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm anxious, I'm like holding my breath," she shared with Access. "I've waited for this for 15 years. I know everyone else has been waiting a year, well, I've been waiting 15 years. So, it's like, 'Oh my God, it's finally here' and I just hope we can continue to honor Ms. Franklin's legacy, as we should." To continue honoring Franklin's legacy, Hudson's BET Awards outfit included a sweet nod to the legend via a "Respect" necklace. You can watch the full interview with Entertainment Tonight below.

click to play video