“I had known about her since I was little,” Harriet star Cynthia Erivo said of the iconic Underground Railroad hero Harriet Tubman. “I felt like she was a superhero to me and I wanted to make sure the world saw her as a human being and a woman,” added the British-born Tony and Grammy winner.
In our discussion about the powerful and action-packed film during Deadline’s recent The Contenders Los Angeles all-day event, Erivo was joined onstage by writer-director Kasi Lemmons, producer Debra Martin Chase and composer Terence Blanchard.
Coming out November 1, Harriet is remarkably the first feature film about Tubman. Having spent five years getting the story of the slave-turned-slave liberator to the screen is a fact Chase both lamented and explored before the packed crowd at the DGA Theater in Hollywood last month.
“For a long time, Hollywood was not ready to make movies starring African-American women about African-American women and certainly not a period piece,” Chase said. “As much as it took us all the time to get the script right, to find the most amazing director, to find Harriet, also the country caught up with us and the industry caught up with us and this is the perfect time for the movie to come out.”
With a solid box office performance, a strong performance from Erivo and a great tune in the original song “Stand Up,” the Focus Features-released Harriet is a clear triple treat this awards season.
Watch the conversation with the people who brought Harriet’s tale to the big screen by clicking on the video above.
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