Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson Wishes She Could Ask Aretha Franklin One Question After ‘Respect'

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Jennifer Hudson has known for years that she would play Aretha Franklin in a film one day, because the Queen of Soul chose her herself.

"After I won the Oscar for 'Dream Girls,' we had a meeting in New York. It was at the Ritz Carlton. It was our first meeting," Hudson told NBC Chicago Today.

She then waited eight years to find out her answer.

"She called me, maybe like during my 'Color Purple' live, she was like, 'I've made my decision, it is you who I want to play me,'" Hudson said.

The famed Chicagoan said she was apprehensive to even take the call, because "a lot of times when celebrities are talking everything is blocked."

"Do I want to answer the phone? Do I know who's calling?" she recalled thinking.

Fast forward more than a decade and Hudson has paid the ultimate tribute to a legend unlike any other.

Hudson had earlier told NBC Chicago that playing the role was "a blessing, but it's a lot of pressure."

"So it's like a mix of emotions and it's a very personal project for me," she said.

And Hudson took on even more than just acting in the film. She also served as executive producer of the movie, a role she said gave her creative input she wouldn't have otherwise had.

"I'm like, 'OK she probably would have wanted this' or adding the element of gospel, we have to maintain her faith throughout the film, that's who she was - a woman of faith," Hudson said. "We have to make sure gospel is in all the music."

But even as she recreates the story of Franklin's life, meets her family and lives her journey, there's one question Hudson says she wishes she could go back and ask Franklin.

"Did I do OK?" Hudson said.

"Respect" is set to open in theaters this weekend.

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