Respect Director Liesl Tommy on Making the Aretha Franklin Biopic - VRGyani News and Media

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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Respect Director Liesl Tommy on Making the Aretha Franklin Biopic

With Respect now playing in theaters, I recently spoke to director Liesl Tommy about making her feature directorial debut. If you haven’t seen the trailers, Respect stars Jennifer Hudson stars as Aretha Franklin and the film chronicles her journey from a gifted child to an international sensation around the world. The star-studded cast includes Forest Whitaker as C.K. Franklin, Audra McDonald as Barbara Franklin, Tituss Burgess as Dr. James Cleveland, Marc Maron as legendary Atlantic Records music producer Jerry Wexler, Kimberly Scott as Mama Franklin, Saycon Sengblah as Erma Franklin, Hailey Kilgore as Carolyn Franklin, Heather Headley as Clara Ward, Skye Dakota Turner as Young Aretha Franklin, Tate Donovan as John Hammond, and Mary J. Blige as Dina Washington. Respect was written by Tracey Scott Wilson, based on a story by Wilson and Thelma & Louise writer Callie Khouri.

During the interview, Liesl Tommy talked about making her feature directorial debut, the big challenges when she got into the editing room, editing in her apartment in NYC during lockdown, how she had a 3 hour and 30-minute cut of the film with more songs, removing Jennifer Hudson singing Dr. Feelgood, and if she has talked to the studio about releasing a longer cut on the Blu-ray.

RELATED: Jennifer Hudson on Playing Aretha Franklin in ‘Respect’ and What it Was Like Performing with Prince

Check out what she had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

Liesl Tommy

  • Was she ever nervous she took on more than she could handle for her feature directorial debut?
  • What was the biggest challenge when she got into the editing room?
  • Did she have a longer cut and a lot of deleted scenes?
  • How she had a 3 hour and 30-minute cut of the film.
  • How she had to remove entire numbers from the film.
  • One of the scenes she removed was Jennifer Hudson singing Dr. Feelgood
  • Has she talked to the studio about releasing an extended cut on the Blu-ray


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