EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha is set to resume filming Oct. 1 in Atlanta. The cast, led by star Cynthia Erivo, have already arrived in Georgia as the crew is wrapping up pre-production.
Genius: Aretha, about the legendary singer Aretha Franklin, had filmed 5 1/2 episodes of its eight-episode order when production shut down mid-March amid the escalating coronavirus outbreak. Two weeks later, Nat Geo delayed the premiere of the limited series, originally slated for May 25, for “later this year.”
A new launch date has not been locked in yet. According to sources, Thanksgiving has been considered though a debut at the start of 2021 appears more realistic at the moment. Disney-owned Nat Geo will likely try to get ahead of the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, slated for a Jan. 15 theatrical release.
Genius: Aretha is the third installment of the Nat Geo anthology, following Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso. It is dubbed as the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the Queen of Soul. Production kicked off in December on the series, starring Erivo as Franklin and co-starring Courtney B. Vance, Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Shaian Jordan, Marque Richardson, Pauletta Washington, Steven Norfleet and Omar J. Dorsey. T.I., Antonique Smith and Tina Fears are recurring. Anthony Hemingway is executive producer and director.