The National Geographic Channel has revealed the next subject for the third season of its award-winning “Genius” anthology series is Aretha Franklin.
Aretha, the Queen of Soul will be portrayed by actress, songwriter and singer, Cynthia Erivo, a Tony and Grammy award-winner, who also plays an inspiring role in 2019’s Harriet.
The new series recounting the life of Aretha Franklin titled: ‘Genius: Aretha’ is said to be the first-ever, definitive scripted limited series on Franklin’s life that will feature some of her biggest hits to be performed by Erivo, according to National Geographic
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Speaking about the new role, Erivo said Aretha has been a source of inspiration for her since she was a little girl.
“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 honour.
“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,” she noted.
Erivo will play Aretha in Season Three of the anthology series “Genius” on the Disney-owned cable network.
The season will portray Franklin’s civil rights advocacy campaigns as well as her musical genius and unique career plus the impact she has had on music and culture around the world.
Erivo’s announcement has been met with positive remarks.
Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens was quoted by Variety saying, “For Genius honour Aretha is a great affirmation of her legacy, and Cynthia Erivo is an extraordinary talent with an amazing voice.”
“Cynthia Erivo blew me away. Not only is she an incredible and bona fide star, but she is soulful and has tremendous depth as a musical artist. Cynthia is the perfect person to portray the profoundly human story behind the genius that is Aretha,” said executive producer Brian Grazer.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks will serve as showrunner for Genius: Aretha. She will executive produce with Imagine’s Grazer, Ron Howard and Francie Calfo; Clive Davis; Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman; Ken Biller; Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane of MWM Studios; Sam Sokolow; and Diana Son. Genius is produced by Imagine TV and Fox 21 TV Studios, reported by Hollywood Reporter.
Genius: Aretha is slated to premiere in 2020 and set to commence production next month.