Q&A: Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin talks biopic
By Mesfin Fekadu
Published: Sunday, May 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Aretha Franklin has a meeting about her upcoming biopic, which has been in the works for years. Franklin says she's heavily involved in the project, including who will play her in the film. Front-runners include Jennifer Hudson and Tony winner Audra McDonald.
“I just try to come up with the names I feel are going to best present this, who are the people that will best present my biopic and what I have in mind,” the 71-year-old singer said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Question: Who's going to be a part of the meeting about your biopic?
Answer: Mr. (Clive) Davis has gotten in the group and Suzanne de Passe, who co-wrote ‘Lady Sings the Blues.' Taylor Hackford, who did ... ‘Ray' ... and the William Morris agent and myself. Those are the principals that will be meeting this weekend.
Q: What do you think about Audra McDonald starring in the film?
A: The question where Audra is concerned is whether or not Audra can get into soul. That would be the question because she has the voice, she has a beautiful instrument. I just wonder how far she can get over into soul.
Q: What about Jennifer Hudson? She has a lot of soul.
A: Jennifer would come up with some good things.
Q: Anyone else?
A: The rest would come out of the producer's book. People that they want me to listen to that I may not know.
Q: Some people are upset because Zoe Saldana is playing Nina Simone in that biopic and they don't believe she resembles Simone.
A: I did know Nina and I would have liked to see someone with a little more of a likeness and hopefully played the piano. But I don't know Ms. Saldana's work and Hollywood can do a lot of things in terms of changing your features and all of that.
Q: Are you working with Babyface on your new album?
A: Clive (Davis) has talked to Face and to Danger Mouse about producing my new CD for RCA. And right now I am just waiting to hear from them to see exactly what they are going to do.
Q: What sound do you want to take on?
A: Well, I'm not producing it. I'm just waiting to see what they come with. ... It should be good. As long as it's good music. I love all music. It's got to be constructed properly.
Q: I know you're a fan of Adele, and she's covered some of your songs. Would you ever do a duet with her?
A: I think it would be good. ... She has some great material. I like her material. She's a very fine writer. (Her songs) were all very original and all very different.
Mesfin Fekadu is the AP music writer.
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