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22 March 2021, 15:07 | Updated: 23 March 2021, 10:50
Aretha Franklin's family have spoken out about new biopic series 'Genius' based on the star's life and say the producers never consulted them and they 'do not support it'.
Aretha Franklin's family have spoken of the 'disrespect' they feel towards a new biopic depicting the life of the star.
The National Geographic produced series 'Genius' premiered yesterday (March 21) and sees actress Cynthia Erivo play the late soul singer.
Franklin’s granddaughter Grace posted a statement on TikTok about the show: “As the immediate family, we feel that it’s important to be involved with any biopic of my grandma’s life, as it’s hard to get any accurate depiction of anyone’s life without speaking to the ones closest to them,” she said.
“During the process of writing, directing, and filming this movie, we’ve reached out to Genius as a family on multiple occasions where we have been disrespected and told that we will not be worked with," she continued.
"As the immediate family — emphasis on immediate — we do not support this film and we ask that you also do not support this film, as we feel extremely disrespected, and we feel there will be many inaccuracies about my grandmother’s life.”
Franklin's son Kecalf, who is also Grace's father, confirmed his family's concerns to Rolling Stone: “We had our lawyers reach out to them and see if we could have some type of input and see the film and say what we like and what we didn’t like about it,” he explained.
“And the report that we got back was saying that it was too late, production had already wrapped up and that they didn’t want to work with us. It was basically too late.”
“This is about common, decent respect for our family,” he said. “If I was to do a movie on your family, I would try and speak with you, your sons, daughters, grandchildren and people like that. And we just never felt like we got a shot to speak to them freely from my heart about our family member.”
A spokesperson for National Geographic released their own statement saying that all parties had the same aim “to honour and celebrate the life and legacy of Aretha Franklin”.
“We worked with many people who knew Ms. Franklin — from Clive Davis to members of her family’s estate — to make sure we told her story in an honest and authentic way,” the production company said.