Accepting a Civil Rights Warrior Award on behalf of her late father, Rev. Clarence L. Franklin, Aretha Franklin cosied up to actor Blair Underwood.

Apparently the meeting went well, because the Queen of Soul’s spokeswoman later announced Underwood is Franklin’s first choice to portray her late brother and former manager Rev. Cecil Franklin in her upcoming biopic “Aretha: From These Roots.”

Underwood has multiple Golden Globe nominations and roles on “L.A. Law,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” and “Sex and the City.” Known for his good looks, Underwood posed for “Playgirl” in 1996.

Franklin’s late brother Cecil Franklin was described as “an accomplished businessman who graduated cum laude from Morehouse College with acclaimed classmates such as civil rights activist Julian Bond and former Mayor of Atlanta Maynard Jackson.”

He also successfully managed his sister’s career for numerous years. In 1979, Cecil Franklin was shot, reportedly during an attempted home robbery. He spent five years in a coma before dying.

The New York Daily News announced last week Franklin was scheduled to meet with “the director and financiers” of “From These Roots” to “discuss her final casting selections for the biopic.”

Her representative also released Franklin’s short list of cast suggestions. She wants:

Nia Long to play her older sister Erma Franklin; “Ray” actress Kerry Washington to take the role of her younger sister Carolyn Franklin; Terrence Howard as Motown great Smokey Robinson, and Denzel Washington as her father.

Franklin’s list did not include whom she’d like to play her in the movie — but many are rooting for songstress Jennifer Hudson, who endured the loss of her own brother, lost a substantial amount of weight and hails from the Midwest.


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