First Images of Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman

People was given an exclusive first look at Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman, in the upcoming biopic Harriet. This biopic will is based on the story of iconic freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, her escape from slavery and subsequent missions to free dozens of slaves through the Underground Railroad in the face of growing pre-Civil War adversity.

Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman. (Glen Wilson / Focus Features)

Cynthia Erivo is set to play the legendary woman. Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou) is the biopics director. There has been some controversy surrounding the fact that such an amazing African American woman would not be played by an African American woman. In an interview with Janell Hobson of Ms. Magazine Lemmons had this to say:

I understand and respect the conversation. It just doesn’t have anything to do with my experience, you know what I mean? [Cynthia Erivo] was attached for years before I came onto the project. But I met her, and I said, “This woman is absolutely right for the part.” I thought, she’s West African, good. So is Harriet Tubman. She’s petite, she’s powerful, she’s an athlete, she’s a singer, as was Harriet. And she’s a magnificent actress. There’s nothing wrong with this picture. She’s perfect for the part. More than that, when I talk to my students about directing actors and casting actors, I say, “Make sure you believe it,” and she made me believe it every day. So, her performance is flawless, and she absolutely embodies the character. Those kinds of things become much more important because when we make films, of course we’re making them in a moment in time, but we’re not making them for a moment in time. You’re making something that you want to endure, that you want people to see for years to come. This petite, powerful, black woman is playing a petite, powerful, black woman, both of them with recent ancestors from West Africa. I have absolute faith in her, absolute belief in her. She transforms. She doesn’t sound like Cynthia, she doesn’t look like Cynthia. She’s Harriet Tubman.

Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman. (Glen Wilson / Focus Features)

Are you looking forward to the much anticipated Harriet


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