Jennifer Hudson Pays Tribute to Aretha Franklin 2 Years After the Music Icon's Death

Hudson previously opened up to PEOPLE earlier this year about how filming the role was a dream come true for her.

"Back in April 2003, I got to open up for her in Merrillville, Indiana, where she held a concert. That was before Dreamgirls, before I ever dreamed of playing her one day," Hudson said. "I've gotten to pay tribute to her many times since then, but every time is like the first time."

Jennifer Hudson on Playing Aretha Franklin

Hudson also described how she picked up a new skill during her time portraying Franklin — learning how to play the piano.

"I started piano lessons," she said of just one of the ways she got into character. "Aretha got me back in music school. It's still a process, but the film has made me more passionate about learning an instrument and expressing myself musically."

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