News Brief
Video still from 'Top Girls' interview with Liesl Tommy via YouTube.

South African Director Liesl Tommy Is Set to Helm Aretha Franklin Biopic, 'Respect'

MGM Pictures is moving ahead on the film chronicling the Queen of Soul's life.

South Africa's Liesl Tommy, the director of Eclipsedthe first Broadway play featuring an all-black, all-women cast—has been tapped to direct MGM Pictures' Aretha Franklin biopic, Ebony reports.


In Respect, the film will chronicle the life of the Queen of Soul starring Jennifer Hudson, who Franklin picked to portray her in the film before she passed away from pancreatic cancer in August 2018 at 76.

Callie Khouri, writer of Thelma & Louise and the creator of Nashville, has been tapped to write the screenplay of the film, following the rise of Franklin's career from being a choir kid at her father's church to the superstar we all know, Variety adds. Scott Berntein of Tradecraft and Harvey Mason Jr., producer and songwriter for both Franklin and Hudson, will be the producers of the film.

"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," Tommy says in a statement. "As a filmmaker there is no greater gift than to be able to bring this transcendent chronicle of a woman's fight for self-realization to visual life with the enormous talents of the soulful Jennifer Hudson, Callie Khouri, and our incredible producers."

Tommy is a six-time Tony Award nominee for Eclipsed, as she was also in the running for "Best Director," making her the first black woman to earn such a nomination. She is set to direct the film adaptation of Trevor Noah's autobiography, Born A Crime, starring Lupita Nyong'o.

Popular
Photo credit should read KELVIN IKPEA/AFP via Getty Images

The Netherlands Returns Nigeria's Centuries-Old Stolen Artefact

The Netherlands has returned to Nigeria a 600-year-old stolen artefact, the Ife Terracotta, which has been received by Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

According to The Guardian Nigeria, the Netherlands has returned a 600-year-old artefact to Nigeria. This comes after the artefact was reportedly smuggled using fraudulent papers through Ghana to the Dutch country. Netherlands ambassador to Nigeria, Harry van Dijk, handed over the Ife Terracotta to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture. The repatriation of the small but "priceless" Ife Terracotta has been a long journey considering it was reportedly smuggled out of Nigeria in 2019.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Sho Madjozi Drops New Upbeat Mixtape 'What A Life'

Sho Madjozi drops her latest mixtape 'What A Life' featuring Manu WorldStar, Dr Thomas Chauke, Makhadzi and many more.