New Hollywood Podcast: Cynthia Erivo Talks ‘The Outsider’, Playing Aretha Franklin And The Importance Of Empathy In Representation

By Dino-Ray Ramos, Amanda N'Duka


Cynthia Erivo has always been a talent to keep an eye on, but it was her role as Celie Harris in the Broadway production of The Color Purple which lit up the stage and caused everyone’s jaws to drop in awe — so much that she won a Tony Award for it. From there, it seemed like Erivo took Hollywood by storm.

Erivo went from Broadway to roles in high profile films of various genres including Drew Goddard’s Bad Times at the El Royale, Steve McQueen’s Widows and starred as the titular historic figure Harriet Tubman in the Kasi Lemmons-directed Harriet which earned an Oscar nomination. She is also set to play the legendary Aretha Franklin in the forthcoming installment of Nat Geo’s Genius anthology.

In HBO’s The Outsider, she takes a turn as a private investigator Holly Gibney who uses her uncanny abilities to help police detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) investigate a gruesome murder of a local boy that has a mysterious force surrounding the case. Based on the Stephen King novel, the character adds her diverse resume of roles as Holly is on the autism spectrum — which Erivo made sure to handle with the utmost care.

Erivo joined us virtually for the latest episode of the New Hollywood Podcast to talk about the critically acclaimed HBO supernatural thriller, how it was to play the Queen of Soul and the importance of empathy when it comes to representation. Listen to the episode below.

*This episode was recorded before the protests and events stemming from the death of George Floyd.

This article was printed from