Aretha Franklin

Amazing Grace

Emma Jones

Entertainment reporter

Makers of a film of Aretha Franklin recording her biggest gospel album say it was shelved due to her frustration over it not making her movie star.

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Stage director to work on Aretha Franklin biopic

Deadline Hollywood

Jennifer Hudson and Liesl Tommy
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Jennifer Hudson and Liesl Tommy

South African-born US theatre director Liesl Tommy will direct a new biopic, Respect, about the Queen of Soul - Deadline reports.

Director Liesl became the first black woman to earn a Tony Award nomination for best direction of a play for 2016's Eclipsed.

She said in a statement: “The story of Aretha Franklin’s journey from child prodigy in Detroit to international supernova is rife with struggle and triumph, making her life one of the great American stories of all time."

Oscar-winning Dreamgirls star Jennifer Hudson - currently working in the UK on the new series of The Voice - was apparently handpicked by Aretha herself for the role, before her death in August last year, aged 76.

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Hudson performed an emotional rendition of Amazing Grace at Aretha's funeral (see above) in Detroit; where other performers included Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Ariana Grande.

We reported on it live at the time and you can relive the event as it happened.

Another Academy Award winner is involved in the new biopic in the form of Thelma & Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri.

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Aretha Franklin
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Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin: Amazing Grace gospel film to premiere after 46 years

Aretha Franklin: In her own words

A long-awaited Aretha Franklin documentary will premiere in New York City - 46 years after being filmed.

Amazing Grace was shot by director Sydney Pollack in 1972, but it spent decades in an unedited form.

Years of legal complications followed, and now it will finally debut at the DOC NYC festival on 12 November, with the support of the singer's estate.

The Queen of Soul - known for hits like Respect and Think - died of cancer in August, aged 76 and was given a star-studded send off.

The film was only finished in 2011 because of technical problems, After that, Franklin and her lawyers blocked the film's release repeatedly, once suing producer Alan Elliot for using her likeness without her permission.

Legal clearance finally came after the singer's death, when her family members were open to seeing the film.

Check out a trailer of Amazing Grace over at Vimeo.

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Gladys Knight honours Aretha Franklin with AMA gospel tribute

Gladys Knight
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More from the American Music Awards now, where a Motown legend paid a musical tribute to the late Queen of Soul.

Gladys Knight closed the show by fronting a gospel tribute to the star, who died in August, aged 76.

The singer, who rose to fame in the 70s with her band The Pips, was joined onstage by Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans for all-star medley, which began with a rendition of the spiritual classic Amazing Grace.

Gladys was a close personal friend of Aretha's and previously sang the anthem, You'll Never Walk Alone, at her funeral in August.

Read more: Aretha's funeral as-it-happened.