Jennifer Hudson Is ‘Still In Shock’ Aretha Franklin Chose Her To Play Her In A Biopic


– I have worn that before, it is so great. – Really, thank you. – Yes, when you’ve got a little curve? I love that outfit. – Hey!
– Yes! I mean, how busy is your life though? – It’s busy. – Every time we’ve texted, you’ve been doing four jobs like me. – You too?
– [Kelly] Yeah. – I mean, doing film now it’s like okay, you’re coming out of
television from “The Voice” or “The Voices” and now
back in film with “Cats” and “Respect” so yeah, it’s busy. – Oh my god, I mean okay. So one thing I love about her is that she, when she gets really excited
and she loves something, she throws her shoes.
– I do. – It’s like my favorite thing. It’s like, because they’re expensive shoes and I’m like wow! But where did you get that from? – It’s like a feeling. Before I know it, my shoe is thrown. But it’s a compliment
Kelly, you know that. – I know that, yes, yes. – So before I know, it’s like oh my god, I need to let them know. – My goal is to be performing
and you’re watching and you throw your shoe. – Get up and sing and
you’re gonna catch a shoe. – And I win if you do it.
– That’s it. – So Christmas is next week,
are y’all ready at your house? – Oh my god, I kick off
my holiday festivities the day after Halloween, okay? – Oh we do too. – So my drivers must play Christmas music, I put up my lights, candles,
all of that good stuff so yes, I’m more than ready.
– Yes, I love it, okay, okay. So you throw a big Christmas
karaoke party every year too. I want to come.
– Yes, yes. You should come. And then we could sing
together and I’ll throw shoes. So it’s the ugly sweater. – We should do songs that
no one’s gonna expect. Like we should both do
Jay-Z and Lincoln Park. – And in a Christmas form, that’d be good, we should do that. – So what, you do ugly Christmas sweaters. That’s not ugly, you’re hot. – Well, I had to give you
a little shoulder girl. I need an elf or something. – You don’t do ugly Christmas sweater, you do hot person in a sweater. – But I put on the worse thing
I could find in my closet that represents the holidays.
– That’s adorable! – And then I sing with
everybody that comes in. – Wait, that comes in? So where do you– – I have ugly sweater karaoke,
Starbucks Christmas party. That’s a long title, I know. – [Kelly] Extraordinary, I love that. – So I do it every year,
that’s a tradition. – I love it, so inclusive too. The neighborhood, everybody
coming in, it’s really cool. – Yes, y’all come too. – You do look super hot though, and it’s not ugly at all, so eh. But will you tell us about
the gift drive you do for kids each year, right? – Each year we have the
Julian D King Gift Foundation. This is maybe the 10th year. I originally started
in my church basement. I took a little money out of my pocket to give back to the kids in honor of my late nephew, Julian King. So we have a local toy drive which gives to everybody who wants to come and then we have a specific dinner where we nominate the kids
and they bring them in and we grant their biggest Christmas wish. We give them a banquet,
they have live music. My sister and my family,
we hand them out gifts. We do it every year. – This is the coolest thing.
– [Jennifer] Thank you. – That is so sweet and thoughtful
because you’re very busy. That’s so cool. Alright, well speaking of toys, Lego has something for everybody on your list this holiday season and everyone in the audience is receiving their very own Lego set from the brand new Lego Hidden Side. (audience cheers and applauds) And that’s not all! That’s not all. I have big news for Jennifer. I have big news for Jennifer. Our friends at Lego are
donating $150,000 worth of toys to the Julian D King gift
foundation in Chicago. – Oh, thank you! – Yes, we loved what you were doing! – I love that.
– Isn’t that nice? $150,000 worth of toys, they’re donating to Julian
D King Foundation guys. – Thank you! – The new movie “Cats”, I’m very excited. Well we did have your
co-star Jason Derulo in here and he did talk about
training to be a cat. He went to cat school.
– Cat school. – So okay, you did too,
so take a look at this. – Yeah, it’s a lot of core
so you’ll be on two feet and then you’ll just be
having a conversation. – That’s why they didn’t call me. Oh shoot! (audience cheers and applauds) – [Woman] Okay. – Well I’m not gonna do that. – I felt like I was on
the set of “Magic Mike”. I was like okay. Daytime just went night time. – You know, that was a lot of cat. – It was real sexy. – [Jennifer] Kelly! – No, I’m just saying how
he moved, I was like what? Because you can’t use your knees. – Well each cat was different though. So we all found our own cat. You go find your cat, I’ll find my cat. – Oh my cat wouldn’t have been standing. – I wonder what your cat would be like. – My cat would have been lounging. I would have been that one
by the door you have to push. So you didn’t have to do all that? – Well Grizabella is a different cat. – You were talking
about playing Grizabella when we were doing “The
Voice”, a minute ago, so how was it, that’s an iconic role. – [Jennifer] It is.
– [Kelly] Were you excited? – Excited, scared, all of that. Grizabella, she carries
the heart of the story and the weight. She’s mysterious and
she’s the dejected cat. So my cat was outcast,
so I would only creep in and they would scare me away. I had the fight scenes
and the emotional scenes. – Oh you’re perfect,
that’s why they picked you. Yes.
– Okay. – No, I just mean you’re so passionate, like, even when you’re performing. I mean, you won an Oscar for
it, that’s why they asked you. Because you won an Oscar because
you’re so good at emoting and really being the
vessel for the message. That’s so cool.
– Thank you. – Did you feel terrified
about doing Memories? – I did, I did. – I have never sang that song. – So you understand,
because you’re a singer. – I’m not ever gonna sing it, yeah, no. Barbara Streisand?
– Exactly. – Bye, no!
(audience laughs) – She said it all. That’s exactly how I said it, I couldn’t have put it into better words. It’s like okay, wow I
can’t get to get the role and then I got it and I’m like, oh you want me to sing Memories? Well if y’all say I can do this, okay. – Oh my god, you can sing your tail off. I bet it sounds amazing. – It’s again, I let it with emotion because it’s the way that the story ends. With Grizabella, there’s only so much time that you have to get to know her, get an understanding of
her and when you see her, you want to know who she
is, what her story is, what she’s been through
and that’s in a song. So it was really heavy and emotional but again, I wanted to keep
it as true to the context of everything we know it to be
and love it to be, you know? – Oh my gosh, I am so
excited to see you in it. – Thank you. – It bet it’s magical,
because you’re so good. Another movie, let’s talk about this one. Aretha Franklin picked you, literally. I saw something that said
Aretha Franklin said, “nobody better play me
but Jennifer Hudson.” Like, she was–
– Wow. (audience applauds) – I’m just saying,
that’s the Queen of Soul and she full on shut down any other player that wanted to play that role. She was like, no. That’s got to feel incredible. – You know my song for “American Idol” was “Share Your Love With
Me” by Aretha Franklin and to flash forward 15 years
later, I’m playing Aretha. Again, she’s an iconic figure
that we all love and respect, and admire her.
– [Kelly] Look at you. – That’s why she came to
see me in “Color Purple”. – Aretha Franklin came
to just see you perform. I want your life. – It was then when she called me. She was like, “I’ve made my decision “and it is you I want to play me, “but don’t you start telling anyone” and then she did an interview the next day and like, “I have spoken
to that young lady” and I’m like, ma’am I won’t say a thing, yes ma’am, whatever you
tell me to do, I do, you’re the Queen, you know. – That’s even more
nervous than the other– – I’m still in shock. – But you’re gonna nail it. I mean, anybody else should
be terrified to do that but it’s written for you. I think that’s why she
probably saw you perform and knew that you’d be able
to carry all that emotion and all that real, raw power and that’s what she represents, so I think you’re gonna be amazing. – I won’t take that
lightly, Kelly, thank you. – I’m very excited for you.
– Thank you. – So I think music lets us travel to past moments of our lives.
– Oh yes. – You know, it’s always
nostalgic, do you agree? – Totally.
– Okay, okay. Okay, since you agree, I want to go back through the memories, get it?
– I love you. – The memories on Jennifer’s playlist, but it’s thousands of songs because there’s a lot of
songs on her playlist right? So it’s time to play a game
called Playlist Shuffle. (upbeat rock music)
(audience applauds) – Oh my god, I love him. – Thank you so much. – Merry Christmas. – Merry Christmas. (audience laughs and applauds) – That was like, the least
excited Merry Christmas I’ve ever received. Oh my god, I love him. Okay, so here’s how it works. I have this button and our super computer shuffles through Jennifer’s
personal playlist until it lands on a song and Jennifer tells us what
the song means to her. Ready?
– Yes. – Okay, here we go. (ding) Magic of television.
– It’s magical. – It’s magical. Alright, what does “Movin’
On Up” mean to you? I love this song. – Everybody loves this song.
– Movin’ on up. – Okay, I’m a sitcom fanatic.
– Me too. – Do y’all remember when
they put all the sitcoms on DVDs and stuff? I collected every single one of them. – I have them. – And my absolute favorite
sitcom is the Jeffersons. Well, come on babe, we’re moving on up. – Movin’ on up!
– There you go. – I love that song. – That song, don’t act like
you don’t know “Movin’ On Up”, that’s my song.
– I love that song! And I love what it represents
of everybody can come, that’s the American dream, right? Like, I’m living it, yeah.
– Me too. We both are.
– So I love that song. – “Movin’ On Up”.
– Very happy, okay. – I can hit it. Alright, that’s a good song. So, what does “I Wanna Dance
With Somebody” mean to you? – Whitney Houston, who I love. – [Kelly] But why that
one above all the others? – Because it’s just such a
feel good song, any time. To me, music dictates my every emotion and others, even if you know it or not, and so it just puts me in my happy place and Whitney was my favorite. I just want to twirl around
in the mirror with a brush and just sing the song.
– With her high hair. – With the big hair. – And the blue eyeshadow
and the pink lips. I love those videos. – It just takes you back into
that joyous place, I think. – Yeah, and it reminds
us of when we were kids and you wanted to be a
singer and it happened. You know what I’m saying? Every kid’s doing that. – I used to be in my
mother’s hallway at home singing Whitney Houston. – Me too, my mom hated it.
(audience laughs) But she is thankful now. We lived in a very small
apartment, a small duplex, so I was loud. Can you imagine, America,
this in close quarters? It’s a lot.

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