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RESPECT’s Marlon Wayans on Jennifer Hudson: ‘It Is God Speaking Through Her’

Photo from Marlon Wayans’ Instagram

RESPECT’s Marlon Wayans on Jennifer Hudson: ‘It Is God Speaking Through Her’

By Movieguide® Staff

Actor Marlon Wayans recently starred in the new biopic, RESPECT, which highlights a portion of Aretha Franklin’s iconic career in music.

Wayans, who plays Franklin’s ex-husband Ted White, wants people to see God through Franklin’s story and voice, as portrayed by co-star Jennifer Hudson.

“The way this woman sings, it’s like … the only way I can describe it is God speaking through her,” Wayans told Shondaland. “To watch her do take after take after take — and she’s singing live, not a recording — each performance gets better and better, to the point where we feel like we are in church…”

Wayans previously told Movieguide® that it was like watching a “legend playing a legend.”

“I thought she did a great job. I was watching a legend play a legend. Every day she sang Aretha Franklin’s songs live sometimes, 10 takes and it got better every take. And it wasn’t just the singing but she did a masterful job at but, you know, just then embodying Aretha,” Wayans said.

Wayans is outspoken about his faith in God and said that he hopes audiences pick up on the movie’s themes of faith.

“God gets you through,” Wayans told The Christian Post in an interview. “There is nothing that you can go through that you cannot get through. If you have God on your heart and you’re in His hands, just know that He’s protecting you.”

Read Also: How Singing in Church Helped Jennifer Hudson Play Aretha Franklin in RESPECT

Despite Ted White’s flaws, Wayans said that he wanted to explore the character with compassion.

“The goal was to make them fall in love with Ted and Aretha, and for the audience to feel what a woman feels like when she has to leave a man she loves because he’s abusive,” he told Movieguide®. “Part of you goes, Ted was a damaged person. His intentions were good, but he was his own obstacle and his jealousy, his insecurity led them to a dark place, which means he was probably a hurt little boy. Because damaged people damage people, hurt people hurt people.”

He added: “Our humanity as people, as bad as he can be, we look at the reasons why people do things. A lot of times people are like, ‘why don’t you just leave that dude?’ There’s no empathy in that because you don’t understand, she’s invested in his pains, she’s invested in his damage. She’s trying to heal him the same way. He’s trying to heal her. They’re trying to rescue each other. But he just was in his own way.”

Although there are redeeming elements in RESPECT, Movieguide® cautions young viewers due to adult themes and some foul language.

A portion of our review reads:

RESPECT has some very talented actors. However, the movie tries to cover too much ground, and the direction and sound leave something to be desired. Also, some dysfunctional family scenes and fights are very hard to watch. However, Aretha’s coming back to Jesus prayer and singing in a missionary church are deeply emotional, uplifting and entertaining, and worth the price of admission. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for the foul language, abuse and other immoral behavior in RESPECT.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.