Cynthia Erivo is about to jump from one great American to another.
On Nov. 1, “Harriet” (shown here) reaches movie theaters, with Erivo, 32, as Harriet Tubman, who kept risking her life to help other slaves get north. That same month, she’ll start work as Aretha Franklin.
The National Geographic Channel announced that filming will begin then, for the third edition of its “Genius” anthology.
The first two miniseries – on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso – were a year apart, but this one will arrive next spring, after a gap of two years or longer. The original idea was to focus on Mary Shelley, the “Frankenstein” author; that was switched to Franklin, with scripts by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. The project will include Erivo’s singing and the late Franklin’s recordings.
The casting links two Broadway dynamos: Erivo, an English native, won Tony, Grammy and daytime Emmy Awards for the “Color Purple” revival. Parks won a Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog”; appropriately for this assignment, she also won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.
The casting was announced today (Oct. 3), just before some other news I was glad to hear: The Pop channel is bringing back “Florida Girls” for a second seasons.
That’s a ragged little comedy, but one that has a quirky charm. It’s a good step for Pop, which has two higher-profile comedies, “Schitt’s Creek” and “One Day At a Time.”