Cynthia Erivo will play Aretha Franklin in National Geographic’s global anthology series Genius: Aretha. The Grammy, Emmy and Tony-awarded Erivo said in a statement:
“Aretha Franklin has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a little girl,” said Erivo. “Her strength, passion and soul are evident in her everlasting legacy, not only as a transcendent artist but as a humanitarian and civil rights icon. To have the opportunity to bring her legacy to life and show the fullness of her being, her humanity and brilliance, is an honor. What I know and have learned about what my voice, as an artist, can do and the power in it has been highly influenced by Franklin. I feel privileged and excited to be a part of the sharing of her genius.”
Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks is the executive producer and showrunner. Clive Davis, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Craig Kallman and Ken Biller are executive producers. Aretha Franklin’s estate is in full support of the series and her niece Sabrina Owens shared her excitement:
“For GENIUS to honor Aretha is a great affirmation of her legacy, and Cynthia Erivo is an extraordinary talent with an amazing voice!”
This will be the only limited series about the Queen Of Soul which is not to be confused with the MGM Franklin biopic Respect.
Filming for Genius:Aretha starts this November and it will premiere in spring 2020 on National Geographic channels in 172 countries and 43 languages.