INTERVIEW: ARETHA FRANKLIN TALKS MOVIE AND MUSIC




Aretha Franklin, who headlined the annual McDonald's Gospelfest in Newark, N.J., attended a meeting recently about her upcoming biopic.  Aretha Franklin sang in her father's Baptist church in Detroit.
Last week, she headlined the annual McDonald's Gospelfest at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker and Cissy Houston were featured.
But that wasn't the only event on Franklin's calendar. She also 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 Thursday with The Associated Press.
Who's going to be a part of the meeting about your biopic?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.
What do you think about Audra McDonald starring in the film?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.
What about Jennifer Hudson?
 She has a lot of soul. Jennifer would come up with some good things.
Anyone else?The rest would come out of the producer's book. People that they want me to listen to that I may not know. Some people are upset because Zoe Saldana is playing Nina Simone in that biopic and they don't believe she resembles Simone.
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.
What's it like to perform for gospel fans?It's just being me and back at home — that's it. Just being back on the old campground; that's how I was brought up. I came up in gospel. Like Johnnie Taylor used to say, 'I'm an old gospel singer.'
Are you working with Babyface on your new album?
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.
What sound do you want to take on?Well, I'm not producing it. I'm just waitingn 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.
I know you're a fan of Adele, and she's covered some of your songs. Would you ever do a duet with her?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.
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