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SA-born director Liesl Tommy to helm Aretha Franklin biopic

The film will centre on Franklin, who died in August last year at the age of 76, and her life from child prodigy to international superstar.

FILE: Liesl Tommy. Picture: AFP

NEW YORK - South African born director Liesl Tommy will helm a biopic about Aretha Franklin starring Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson.

The film will centre on Franklin, who died in August last year at the age of 76, and her life from child prodigy to international superstar.

Tommy, who became the first black woman to earn a Tony nomination for best direction of a play for the Broadway show, Eclipsed, is set to direct the feature film about the late celebrated icon, which is to be titled, Respect, after Franklin’s chart-topping cover.

Hudson was believed to be handpicked by Franklin to play her, says that she’s honoured to be part of bringing Franklin’s story to audiences of fans around the world.

Tommy, who was born in Cape Town but has been living in Boston, says there’s no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle to life.

She’ll also be directing the film adaption of Trevor Noah’s best-selling memoir Born A Crime.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)