Focus Features has just released the first trailer for “Harriet”, the highly-anticipated biopic based on the inspiring life of American freedom fighter, hero, and icon, Harriet Tubman. Directed and co-written by Kasi Lemmons, the film, in theaters November 1, 2019, stars Tony, Emmy and Grammy-winning actor Cynthia Erivo in the title role.
“Harriet”, which also stars Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monáe, Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles, and Clarke Peters, “tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.”
Harriet Tubman, who was born Araminta “Minty” Ross, the fifth of nine children to enslaved parents in Maryland in 1822, endured the unthinkable horrors of slavery until she successfully escaped from the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the late fall of 1849.
Despite securing her own freedom, Harriet made the courageous decision to return to the South to help rescue others. As Kate Clifford Larson, Ph.D., an historian and leading Harriet Tubman scholar and the author of Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero, explains, “Tapping into an already well oiled Underground Railroad network, she was incredibly successful. Over time, and after adding her own connections and trusted friends and colleagues, she became one of the most prolific Underground Railroad conductors of all time.” Over a ten year period, 1850-1860, Harriet Tubman directly rescued nearly 70 enslaved black men and women in the South, and guided another 60 or 70 others to freedom in the North. Driven by her boundless courage and selfless service to others, Tubman also worked as a spy, cook, nurse and armed scout for the Union Army.
In speaking about the “Harriet” film earlier this year, Cynthia Erivo said, “The story is such an important one to tell, and it’s crazy that it hasn’t been told yet. I think that everyone needs to learn about this woman. There’s always a fear when you’re portraying a woman who means a great deal to a lot of people, and you want to make sure that you do her justice.”
For her performance as Celie Harris in The Color Purple on Broadway, Cynthia won Lead Actress – Musical at the 2016 Tony Awards, a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album (2017), as well as a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program (2017). In her latest role as Harriet Tubman in “Harriet”, Cynthia could surely earn herself an Oscar, as well.