Respect is due for the authentic film sets of Aretha Franklin biopic

Respect is due for the authentic film sets of Aretha Franklin biopic

Film set design and decor details of the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect are revealed in a behind-the-scenes featurette about the film’s production design and what’s more, we have an exclusive to share it with you today dear Film and Furniture fans!

Directed by , the film follows the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church choir to her international superstardom. Oscar and Grammy Award winner and vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson was hand picked by Aretha herself to play the part (it was Aretha’s version of Amazing Grace that Hudson sang at church as a child).

Jerry Wexler's office in Respect.
Jerry Wexler’s office in Respect. Production Design by Ina Mayhew.

“The design is incredible” says Hailey Kilgore who plays Aretha’s younger sister Carolyn Franklin in the film, “they really captured the essence of the 50s, 60s and 70s”.

Talking about the design of the film, Director Tommy says: “It was really important to have the specific gaze of a black woman with impeccable taste and experience as the production designer and Ina Mayhew was my partner in crime”.

Mayhew says: “There were so many sets that we built: The Rainbow Room, Jerry Wexler’s office, Columbia Records studio, the Muscle Shoals set, Ted’s apartment… My favourite set is the family home”.

The Franklin family home in Respect. Production Design by Ina Mayhew.
The Franklin family home in Respect. Production Design by Ina Mayhew.

The film set of the Franklin family home was inspired by the real house where Aretha grew up in Detroit. Owned by Aretha’s father, CL Franklin (played by Forest Whitaker) the house was an impressive 5000 square feet in size, which he put to good use by hosting many parties. 

The furniture in this set is authentic of the time: “We changed the furniture for different eras, from ’52 to ’56 and then to ’72” says Mayhew.

We spotted some wonderful retro details in the glassware and barware, ceramics and jewel-coloured vintage cushions in the house film set.

Retro design details of the film sets of Respect
Retro design details of the film sets of Respect

Bamboo/caned sofas and armchairs were a big hit in the 70s and cane designs similar to those seen in the house are making a big come back in interior design right now. 
Find cane and bamboo furniture and accessories at Etsy or Made by Design.

The Franklin family home
The Franklin family home features bamboo/cane armchairs, sofa and coffee table in Respect. Production Design by Ina Mayhew.

We also spied a pair of Bjork Lily Candlesticks which you may also have spotted in episodes of Mad Men.

lily candlestick in Respect
A pair of Lily candlesticks designed by Ivar Ålenius Björk make an appearance in the Franklin family home in Respect

These eye-catching brass candlesticks were designed by Ivar Ålenius Björk (1905-1978) and are part of series of brass candlesticks for a Swedish manufacturer called Ystad-Metall that closed down in 1969. This iconic design was on display at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and has become a modern design classic that has been featured in many international design magazines. Vintage Lily candlesticks are available to buy via our store.

Enjoy taking a look around the film sets of Respect in the clip below.

Sadly, The Queen of Soul herself didn’t get to see her life story on the big screen before she passed away in 2018, but she was involved with Respect’s development right up until the end.

This celebration of Aretha Franlin’s legacy, which also stars Mary J. Blige and Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron, Audra McDonald and Tituss Burgess, is available to buy on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital download from Nov 9.

This feature is FREE to Classic members.

To access in-depth features, video interviews, tickets to F&F events, giveaway draws, invitations to pre-release film screenings, major exhibitions and more, become a Front Row or Backstage member today!

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