After a months-long coronavirus-related delay, National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha resumed production today in Atlanta as planned, and cast and crew were greeted with a welcome back letter from executive producer/showrunner Suzan-Lori Parks.
Genius: Aretha, starring Cynthia Erivo as 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. There is new date yet.
“We are fortunate to be working on such a beautiful, necessary, and relevant show In these challenging and difficult times,” Parks wrote in the letter, obtained by Deadline. “We’ll get through this together. We’ll lead with respect and compassion. We have been called to serve the Queen of Soul.”
Added Parks, “Queen Aretha Franklin’s existence has summoned us all here so that we can make a great show, yeah, and also so that we can realize the highest version of ourselves. We will stay safe. We will bring it. And We will prevail.”
You can read her entire letter below.
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. Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard as well as Clive Davis and Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman also executive produce.
Hey Beautiful Team Genius: Aretha!
We are fortunate to be working on such a beautiful, necessary, and relevant show In these challenging and difficult times.
We’ve got a lot of work to do.
I’m grateful for each and every one of you.
Thank you for being here and for sharing your genius to make our GENIUS.
As a renowned meditation teacher shared with their students:
“I’m giving you a gift. You can use it whenever and as much as you like. Or you can put it aside.
Here’s the gift:
Whenever you need to, take a
Deep breath and inhale compassion. And, as you exhale, pour compassion Over your own head.”
We’ll get through this together.
We’ll lead with respect and compassion.
We have been called to serve the Queen of Soul.
I’ve been deeply embracing what that really means.
Queen Aretha Franklin’s existence has summoned us all here
So that we can make a great show, yeah,
And also so that we can
Realize the highest version of ourselves.
We will stay safe.
We will bring it.
We will prevail.
Love and (socially distanced)hugs