The biopic is a welcome change of pace for Wayans, who plays Franklin’s first husband and manager Ted White. But seeing his friend and co-star embody a legend was the icing on the cake.
“Everyday I came to set I was not just her friend, I was a fan,” Wayans told “Entertainment Tonight Canada” in an interview that first aired on YouTube this week. “To watch her it felt like you was going to church, and she would sing take after take after take. and it just was getting better; she’s amazing.”
The “Sextuplets” star was so impressed by the former “Dreamgirls” star’s performance that he without a doubt expects her take home an Oscar next year, even it means taking matters into his own hands.
Jokingly he says, “If she don’t win a statue I’mma steal one and give it to her.” When asked if that meant he would literally cause a scene by going on stage, he replied matter-of-factly, “Yeah, ’cause them girls, they be up there with that little statue [as he imitates awards presenters], I’ll be like ‘gimme that’ and run and go, ‘Here, Jennifer.’ Or be like Kanye. I’ll take the ‘No, this statue belongs to Jennifer. I’m sorry, Frances McDormand, you have 35 of these. … This one’s going to Jennifer.”
This is far from the first time Wayans has gushed about his co-star’s talent. On social he’s shared various snaps of the duo from set with loving captions proving just how much he adores her. “This woman…sooo talented. No words can describe the work she did. I’ve never witnessed anything like. Every scene, every song, every moment all Aretha feels,” he wrote.
Fans looking forward to watching the film are already equally sold on Hudson being deserving the premier golden award.
“I couldn’t imagine anyone else portraying Miss Aretha but Jennifer!”
“Angela Bassett was snubbed as Tina Turner for an Oscar. But prayerfully Jennifer will win her second one for Best Actress playing Aretha.”
“Aretha passed the mantle or torch so to speak to Jennifer. Jennifer best days are ahead of her and I believe this is a pivotal moment.”
Work on the film began in 2018 and wrapped in February 2020. While Hudson and Wayans may be at the top of bill, the biopic’s all-star cast also includes Mary J. Bilge, Forest Whitaker, Tituss Burgess and Audra McDonald. The film initially had a release date of Jan. 15, however, earlier this year MGM Studios announced that Aug. 13 would be the official theater rollout for the biopic.
Hudson, a Grammy and Academy Award winner, was handpicked to star in the film by the “Queen of Soul” after nailing a BET Honors tribute to Franklin in 2014. Knowing that she had the full backing of Franklin — who died in 2018 — helped her navigate the portrayal in the film.
“Hearing her in the back of my head saying, ‘Jennifer, you do this,’ that was my encouragement to get through it, to be able to do it ” Hudson explained to Oprah Winfrey in an episode of “OWN Spotlight” last week. “It’s not an easy thing or task for Aretha Franklin to say, ‘OK, I want you to play me,’ then to play someone like Aretha Franklin. It’s only one,” Hudson continued.