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'The Backbone Through It all Was Her Faith in God': Cast and Crew of 'Respect' Focus on Aretha Franklin's Faith

Image source: CBN News

The Aretha Franklin biopic "Respect" is in theaters now and there's already Oscar-buzz for its star, Jennifer Hudson, for her portrayal of the "Queen of Soul". 

Prior to her passing in 2018, Franklin hand-picked the star singer Hudson to play the lead role. 

Franklin is known as a "soul music superstar" who understood how faith could heal the broken, and that was reflected in her music.

Hudson, who was raised in the church, says her strong Christian faith was instrumental while making the movie. She watched the documentary for "Amazing Grace," which outlines the life and career of Franklin prior to filming "Respect".

Several other cast members recently spoke about Franklin's religious beliefs and how it influenced her music.

Sandra MacDonald, who portrays Franklin's mother, said it's moving to hear her music because "there was something that was so fundamentally connected to the human spirit."

The film's director, Liesl Tommy said Franklin brought the same "intensity and love to her pop music."

But the singer's journey began at the church and ultimately ended there.

"With her album, 'Amazing Grace' she finds her way back," Tommy said. "Aretha's legacy plumbs the depths and the highs of humanity and she tells us that every part of being a human being is okay."

In order to portray Franklin's story to audiences, Hudson said she had to draw from her faith which serves as her foundation.

"Through the triumphs, the setbacks, family and her faith in God are what got her through life and it made her who she was," Hudson said. "Her music was so personal. But the backbone through it all was her faith in God."

Watch the full half-hour episode on the movie with the cast and director tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST on CBN's Studio 5.

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